American Elephants


The Eternal Battle Between Left and Right. by The Elephant's Child

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Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating  game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.

Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.

Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:

A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)

If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response.  No, there actually is no consensus.  And “consensus” isn’t science.

Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”

Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males.  (emphasis added)

Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”

Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.

He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.

ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.

Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered  if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.

Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.

Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.

Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.



Somebody call PETA! by The Elephant's Child

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This picture was posted on Facebook, and many viewers were outraged that at a time when there is so much going on in the world, some idiot hunter was slaughtering, um, peaceful rare animals. If you recognize the face of the man, Steven Spielberg, and the animal, Triceratops, all becomes fairly clear. The director posed with a prop from Jurassic Park. The Daily Caller summed up the rage of some of the commenters:

“That’s Steven Spielberg, director of Jurassic Park!” one user wrote.

“I don’t care who he is he should not have shot that animal,” another responded.

“Steven Spielberg, I’m disappointed in you. I’m not watching any of your movies again ANIMAL KILLER,” commented another.

“Disgraceful. No wonder dinosaurs became extinct. Sickos like this kill every last one of them as soon as they are discovered. He should be in prison,” another followed up.



You Should Probably Worry, Or At Least Pay Attention! by The Elephant's Child

Caliph IbrahimII

ISIS has now renamed itself as the Islamic State. They claim to have established a Caliphate stretching across parts of Iraq and Syria, but their ambitions are far greater. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, pictured above, has renamed himself Caliph Ibrahim, though the viciousness of their advance is more reminiscent of Saddam Hussein. Nine other jihadist groups have declared the “Islamic State” and the “Caliphate” null and void, legally and logically and everybody else better condemn them too.

The movement of ISIS across Iraq has been ferocious, determined and vicious. In only a month they have swarmed from obscurity to being perhaps the most well-funded terrorist group on earth. Some of the officers from Saddam’s army have reportedly joined them.  Nobody seems to know how many there are in the ISIS army, but some estimates at the beginning were only about 800 people.

They have captured much of the equipment with which the U.S. enforced the Iraqi army, so they have Humvees, MRAPS , rocket launchers, helicopters and I don’t know what else. Some suggest that they won’t know how to operate or maintain the equipment, but they’ve cleaned out the banks in Mosul and any other town they pass through, and get funding from some wealthy Sunnis who are glad to fund jihadist movements. They are estimated now to have over a billion in finances, so they can probably hire a teacher or two, and if the officers of Saddam’s army have joined up they may have more capability than our state department is assuming.

According to the AP, “Iraq has informed the United Nations that the Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad where 2,500 chemical rockets filled with the deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents.” (What? I thought there were no WMD in Iraq?) “Terrorist groups entered the Muthanna site June 11 ans seized weapons and equipment from the protection force guarding the facility.” Secretary Ban Ki-moon “singled out the capture of bunkers 13 and 41 in the sprawling complex, which according to a 2004 U.N. report also contained the toxic agent sodium cyanide, which is a precursor for the chemical warfare agent tabun, and artillery shells contaminated with mustard gas.” Maybe it’s time to start worrying, or at least paying attention.

Why did the Obama Administration ignore all those warnings about ISIS?  Eli Lake describes all the warnings. Team Obama was told over and over, that the Iraqi army could not stop a terror group that was ready to pounce.  It’s a long, sad tale. It probably has the most to do with Obama’s dogmatic positions. Once he makes up his mind, it set in concrete, and Iraq was the “bad war” that he promised to get out of.  Speaking to the foreign press, Ben Rhodes, the White House Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communication said,”In terms of additional u.S.military action, President Obama again made clear that while he has not ordered any military action, he reserves the right to do so as necessary.”

Obama’s best advisors on Iraq have been saying such military action has been necessary now for months, but Obama is busy with fundraising and golf.

ISIS has begun systematically destroying artifacts and antiquities found in Iraqi museums because they are “against Islam.” They issued a city charter in Mosul and declared that “false idols” would have to be destroyed. For this strain of Sunni Muslim jihadists, representations of the human form or any shrine that might lend  itself to idolatry, or any place of worship dedicated to the Shiia faith must be obliterated. If you remember the Taliban blew up the world’s two largest standing Buddhas—one of them 165 feet high . They had been preserved for 1,700 years.  ISIS has expressed an intent to destroy the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site. More than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca every year, and the Kaaba is the direction of Muslim prayer.
That wouldn’t seem to be a good PR move, but I am not a Muslim.

biblicaliraq



Lies My President Told Me; by The Elephant's Child

And that’s just some of the more obvious ones. Mr. Obama always uses a teleprompter because he likes to be in control of the situation. But why does he believe that it doesn’t matter what he says — everyone will believe him?  No they won’t. The president has worn out whatever trust they once may have had.



Why Are Democrats So ‘Outraged?’ Just Another Tactic! by The Elephant's Child

This one made me laugh.  We have always said that for liberals, it’s feelings that matter, not facts or principles. In fact they have said that they don’t have principles—that they react on a case by case basis. They respond to events.  And it is certainly an overdose of feelings that leads to the total excess of outrage. Not a day goes by without a new outrage.

The source of all the outrage is simple. When the unknown Illinois state senator spoke to the Democratic Convention in Boston in 2004, they were thrilled. He was so—elegant, tall and slim, with a dazzling smile and a warm baritone voice.  His story was so inspiring. His father herded goats in Kenya, and his grandfather was a humble cook for the British. It was better than Abe Lincoln and his log cabin and splitting rails. They were thrilled. When Obama was elected to the presidency of the United States, he promised to transform America, make it fulfill all their dreams, and they knew that the future would be better and better.

Well, it didn’t work. Things didn’t keep getting better. The Republicans kept criticizing, and fighting back against every little thing. Obama was stuck with the worst economy ever because of Bush’s recession, and Republicans tried to blame it all on him. It wasn’t Obama’s fault. Republicans just needed to shut up, to stop criticizing, to give Obama a chance. Obama promised better health insurance: if we liked our insurance we could keep our insurance, we could keep our doctor if we liked our doctor, and if would cost us way less. Then the IRS and the VA and trading terrorists for a deserter, and Russia invaded Crimea, and ISIS invaded Iraq. Just one thing after another, and rather than admit that their dreams of a new world were misplaced, they started scheming about how to silence Republicans. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United that affirmed the right of corporations to have a political voice, it seemed possible that there was no way to shut them up. They would keep right on spoiling everything.

If they can just get people fired up, angry, outraged— they can get Republicans banned, blocked, opposed, held up to ridicule, fired, and above all convince  the people that Those on the Right are evil,  beyond redemption and must be voted out of office. It’s just another leftist tactic.



“Nobody Believes You” by The Elephant's Child

New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified June 20, at a Ways and Means Committee hearing. You have undoubtedly heard of the upwardly spiraling obfuscations from the IRS attempting to prove that all the claims of wrongdoing are wrong, wrong, wrong, Nothing to see here. Just move along. Is this inquiry just another Republican fishing expedition trying to get the goods on the administration? Hardly.

It’s a big deal because this one particular agency collects $2.4 trillion in taxes from 234 million taxpayer returns. They have the power to probe deeply into your personal finances and personal affairs, make your life a living hell, ruin your reputation and send you to jail. That’s a lot of power and if the agency is crooked, reveals personal financial information to outside agencies, and acts as the partisan arm of one political party against another, the public has the right to not only ask some pertinent questions, but to demand that the agency clean up its act. From today’s hearing:

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and New IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Ryan: I am sitting here listening to this testimony. . . . I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you. The Internal Revenue Service comes to Congress a couple of years ago and misleads us and says no targeting is occurring.

Then it said it was a few rogue agencies in Cincinnati. Then it said it was also on progressives. All those things have been proven untrue. This committee sent a criminal referral of possible criminal wrongdoing, just a month ago, to the Justice Department and we’ve heard nothing. You bury, in a 27-page letter to the Senate, asking for them to conclude the investigation, that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails during the time in question because of a hard drive crash. . . . Monday our investigators asked your agency whether any other hard drives crashed and we learn that six other hard drives of the people we are investigating were involved. . . . you didn’t tell us that!

Koskinen: We told you on Monday.

Ryan: You told us on Monday because we asked you whether any other hard drives crashed. This is unbelievable. You told us in May that you were going to give us all of Lois Lerner’s emails and you learned in February that this crashed.

Koskinen: I did not learn in February of the crash and we told you on Monday.

Ryan: I’m not asking a question, I’m making a statement.

Koskinen: I’m sorry.

Ryan: You are the IRS. . . . You learned about this months ago, you just told us, and we had to ask you on Monday. This is not being forthcoming. This is being misleading again. This is a pattern of abuse, a pattern of behavior, that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial. I don’t believe you.

I have heard on the radio and read statements by numerous IT people, who say that a hard drive crash doesn’t mean that you cannot get the information on it, you can read it with a magnifying glass, and that there are backups on the system servers and beyond. I don’t believe him either. Some IT experts said they could find the emails in about an hour if they could get into the system. Good for Paul Ryan.

Mr. Koskinen was confirmed as the new IRS Commissioner  on the 20th of December. The IRS currently has 89,000 employees, only part of whom are in Washington DC. One would think a new Commissioner would demand that the agency he heads is scrupulously obeying the law, and has a sterling reputation.



The Left Lies to Sway Public Opinion — Here’s Proof! by The Elephant's Child

Memory is just so — fallible. Politicians particularly have trouble remembering today what they actually said yesterday or the day before. They have not yet totally absorbed the advances in technology that have preserved their words actually coming directly out of their mouths. So inconvenient!

Hardly a day goes by when there is not some lefty on the radio referring to Bush’s illegal War in Iraq, or claiming Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to get us into Iraq to get Iraq’s oil. Halliburton! One would think that by now they would have noticed that we never got any of Iraq’s oil. The deal was making it the possession of the Iraqi people instead of funneling the income into Saddam’s bank account.

In 2001 and 2002, Democrats were still reeling, as we all were, from the attack on the World Trade Center. Most of us, innocently,  had never dreamed of such a devastating attack on our own country. Pearl Harbor was 60 years previously, few were old enough to remember. We invaded Iraq in March of 2003. By April 10, Baghdad had fallen; by September 3, the first post-Saddam  government had been established, and by December 13, Saddam Hussein had been captured in his hole.

If you remember, Bill Clinton was complaining because he didn’t have a war to fight to enhance his legacy. The left was beginning to notice that the George W. Bush they hated so, was emerging as decisive, reassuring, in command, and they began to get restive.

The website American Thinker, took on Douglas Hanson as their National Security correspondent. Douglas Hanson was a US Army cavalry reconnaissance officer for 20 years, and  a Gulf War I combat veteran. He had a background in radiation biology and physiology, and was an Atomic Demolitions Munitions (ADM) Security Officer, and a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense Officer. As a civilian analyst, he had worked on stability and support operations in Bosnia, and helped develop a multi-service medical treatment manual for nuclear and radiological casualties. He was initially an operations officer in the operations/intelligence cell of the Requirements Coordination Office of the CPA, and was later assigned to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In the summer of 2003, he was serving as Chief of Staff in the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), an organization formerly called the Ministry of Atomic Energy. They had a small staff of Americans and Iraqis, part of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad. One of their key tasks was to transition some 8000 Iraqi scientists and engineers from military and state enterprises to civilian jobs. That gave Hanson a unique vantage point on the activities of the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG), headed by Dr. David Kay and charged with finding WMD.

Hanson explained that Dr. Kay pronounced there are no large stockpiles of WMD. His searches were haphazard and uncoordinated. In his October 2003 report, the ISG had not even searched 120 of the 130 known ammo storage points, much less any underground sites. Previous intelligence assessments, were developed by intelligence analysts who had been working on Iraq’s WMD and knowledgeable UNSCOM personnel who had conducted UN searches for WMD. When Dr. Kay arrived, he shifted focus from the list of known sites to interrogating scientists, a necessary effort, but a shotgun approach. ISG was swamped by the amount of corroborating data which should have been used to test the validity of scientists’ stories. Stories which could well be incriminating.

Dr. Kay concluded  Iraq’s key scientists had ended up working directly for Saddam in development of WMD programs and they had fooled him into believing in non-existent weapons. That always sounded fishy. Hanson’s experience indicated just the opposite. The ISG did not have the resources, security of suspected sites, or the preparation to cope with the task. Charles Duelfer, head of the ISG,  testified that “the picture is much more complicated than I anticipated going in.” The ISG was composed of personnel from CIS, State Department, and Defense Intelligence Agency—the same organizations that were getting raked over the coals for bureaucratic bungling of intelligence prior to 9/11.

Many have confused the term WMD as referring only to nukes, but it includes Chemical and Biological weapons as well. Proclamations about ‘stockpiles’ were confusing. One nuclear bomb is not a stockpile, but could wipe out an American city. Stockpiles of biological weapons can be kept in a scientist’s refrigerator at home. The ISG proved that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions. Iraq was involved in manufacturing the biotoxin Ricin ‘right up to the end.” Saddam’s nuclear program was restarted, and development of BW ‘seed’ agents, such as botulinum, could be used to regenerate stockpiles of BW agents once UN sanctions were lifted.

UNSCOM inspectors understood these factors when they concluded in 1995 that, at the time of Operation Desert Storm in January of 1991, Iraq had largely solved key technical issues. The problem of precursor storage and stabilization for VX, a powerful and persistent nerve agent was solved by Saddam’s scientists. In addition, UNSCOM noted the development of prototypes for binary sarin (non-persistent nerve agent) artillery shells and 122mm rockets. Binary rounds consist of two non-lethal substances that combine upon detonation to form a lethal agent.

Pesticides are the key elements in the chemical agent arena. The general pesticide chemical formula (organophosphate) is the ‘grandfather’ of modern day nerve agents. They are also the precursors of other chemical weapons including Mustard-Lewisite, Phosgene – a choking agent, and Hydrogen Cyanide -  a blood agent. As Coalition forces attacked into Iraq, huge warehouses and caches of “commercial and agricultural” chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists. The ISG quickly refuted the findings of these specialists, and have been silent on the significance of the caches. They simply called them “agricultural commodities.” But why did they secure drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers six feet underground?

I have borrowed Douglas Hanson’s words to describe and abbreviate three of his columns. A report by the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) said Coalition forces had recovered several hundred munitions containing nerve agents. Hanson added:

The left and their allies in the press are apparently too dense to understand the significance of the Coalition previously finding biological agent seed cultures, several hundred tons of purified nuclear material, and tons of chemical weapon (CW) precursors.  But this entire controversy has never been about the weapons themselves, the age of the munitions, or the media promoted fantasy of pallets of chemical rounds ready to be loaded into Iraqi artillery pieces.

The left and the media could trumpet the WMD stockpile image to bend and shape public opinion. This is what Obama has used as an excuse and as guidelines for the past 6 years. Does Obama even know that all the claims of “No WMD”and “A War for Oil” were as phony as the war to save the planet from the perils of global warming?

Douglas Hanson’s columns have remained in the archives at American Thinker, just enter his name in the search function there. I linked to three here.  Hanson’s was a sturdy voice of sanity on the Left’s attempt to blacken the name and actions of George W. Bush. You always knew they were lying, didn’t you?



Obama’s Failure To Grasp the Nature of Al Qaeda Is Frightening! by The Elephant's Child

Obama Arrogantt

“President Barack Obama has described al Qaeda as having been “decimated”, “on the path to defeat” or some other variation at least 32 times since the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to White House transcripts.”  That was an article at CNS news on November 1, 2012. He’s probably upped that 32 times considerably since then. Here’s one of the more typical statements:

Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq — and we did. I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan — and we are. And while a new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Fredrick W. Kagan is one of those people that can be correctly called an “expert.”  He has years  of study and experience behind this testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on “Missing the Target—Why the U.S.Has Not Defeated al Qaeda.”

All conditions are set for a series of significant terrorist attacks against the US and its allies over the next few years. But that’s not the worst news. Conditions are also set for state collapse in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and possibly Jordan. Saudi Arabia, facing a complex succession soon, is likely to acquire nuclear weapons shortly, if it has not already done so. Turkey and Egypt confront major crises. Almost all of Northern and Equatorial Africa is violent, unstable, and facing a growing al Qaeda threat. And Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine is likely to empower al Qaeda-aligned jihadists in Crimea and in Russia itself. That eventuality is, of course, less worrisome than the prospect of conventional and partisan war on the European continent, likely threatening NATO allies. The international order and global stability are collapsing in a way we have not seen since the 1930s. There is little prospect of this trend reversing of its own accord, and managing it will require massive efforts by the US and its allies over a generation or more.

This distressing context is essential for considering the al Qaeda threat today. On the one hand, it makes that threat look small. The long-term effects of global chaos and conflict among hundreds of millions of people across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on US security, interests, and way of life are surely greater than any damage al Qaeda is likely to do to us in the immediate future. Yet the two threats feed each other powerfully. Disorder and conflict in the Muslim world breed support for al Qaeda, which is starting to look like the strong horse in Iraq and even in Syria. Al Qaeda groups and their allies, on the other hand, powerfully contribute to the collapse of state structures and the emergence of horrific violence and Hobbesian chaos wherever they operate. They are benefiting greatly from the regional sectarian war they intentionally triggered (the destruction of the Samarra Mosque in 2006 was only the most spectacular of a long series of efforts by al Qaeda in Iraq to goad Iraq’s Shi’a into sectarian conflict, for which some Shi’a militants, to be sure, were already preparing)—and have been continuing to fuel.  Al Qaeda is like a virulent pathogen that opportunistically attacks bodies weakened by internal strife and poor governance, but that further weakens those bodies and infects others that would not otherwise have been susceptible to the disease. The problem of al Qaeda cannot be separated from the other crises of our age, nor can it be quarantined or rendered harmless through targeted therapies that ignore the larger problems.

Kagan goes on to explain that we make a major mistake in defining al Qaeda as a terrorist group from whom the danger is an attack on America. Al Qaeda is a terrorist group, of course, but they define themselves differently. They have devoted most of their resources to “seizing and governing terrain and populations in the Muslim world. They see themselves as a global insurgency that uses terrorism, and its ability to field small irregular armies in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere that demonstrates the seriousness with which it takes that self-conception.”

Thinking of al Qaeda as a narrow threat of a small group of extremists hiding out in  the mountains of villas of Pakistan, and assuming that allied groups all over the Middle East and Africa are just temporary fringe players is a major error.” Al Qaeda supporters are fanatics, willing ( in some cases) to die, but avoid the martyrdom they encourage in their followers.  “Islam has a very strong tradition of seeing divine blessing or curse manifested in this-worldly success of failure.”

The state of weakness and indecision in the administration is truly frightening. “The threat is growing in size and capability while we are dismantling our defenses. Surely we should consider other approaches, and soon.”

Do read the whole thing, This is more important than we can imagine.  As he says—all conditions are set for future attacks.



All Options Are On The Table, Except They’re Not. by The Elephant's Child

A speech by Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said they would help the U.S. confront “terrorist groups” in Iraq and Syria — referring principally to ISIS. According to President Rouhani:

If the Iraqi government asks us for help, we may provide any assistance the Iraqi nation would like us to provide in the fight against terrorism.

All countries need to embark on joint effort regarding terrorism.

At the moment, it’s the government of Iraq and the people of Iraq that are fighting terrorism.

We have not seen the US do anything for now. Any time the Americans start to take action against terrorist groups, we can consider that.

It has been reported that Iran has already sent two battalions of troops into Iraq, but the Iranians deny it. Iraq is not enthusiastic about Iranian troops, they had a very bloody war still in memory. The Ayatollah Sistani has called for the Shiia to volunteer to fight the ISIS, and they are turning out by the thousands.

Can it be that the Iranian leadership is openly calling on the United States to intervene in Iraq?

The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush has been moved into the Persian Gulf to provide President Obama with “options?”

We have over 5,000 staff in our embassy in Iraq. Some are reportedly moving out and being replaced by members of the military — who do not count as “boots on the ground” but as just shuffling people around.

The situation? Muddled and confusing.



It’s The Weekend —We’ll Think About it Next Week. by The Elephant's Child

From Alexis Simendinger at Real Clear Politics:

President  Obama said on Friday that the United States will not send combat troops to help the Iraqi government battle militants massing near Baghdad, but will provide  military options over “the course of this week.”

Uh huh. No rush, maybe next week. Obama has a golf  weekend planned in Palm Springs. I refer back to former defense secretary Robert Gates Duty

The historian Max Hastings wrote in his book Inferno that “it is characteristic of all conflicts that until enemies begin to shoot, ships to sink and loved ones—or at least comrades—begin to die, even professional warriors often lack urgency and ruthlessness.

In 2007, George W. Bush warned that if America withdrew prematurely from Iraq, American troops would eventually have to return:

To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready … would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous. [Emphasis Added].

There is no urgency except among some former military people. Some seem to think that a column of ISIS ‘militants’ are more vulnerable on the highway to Baghdad than they will be when it’s house-to-house in the city itself, but what do I know.

Obama spoke at a graduation ceremony at U.C. Irvine about the urgent problem of global warming.

A new paper published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics finds long solar cycles predict lower temperatures during the following solar cycle.
—A longer solar cycle predicts lower temperatures during the next cycle.
A 1°C or more temperature drop is predicted 2009-2020 for certain locations.
—Solar activity may have contributed 40% or more to the last century temperature increase.
—A lag of 11 year gives maximum correlation between solar cycle length and temperature.

Seems like somebody ought to be alarmed, but I guess not.



Blackfive Responds to the Kids at Vox: by The Elephant's Child

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An excerpt from Uncle Jimbo* at Blackfive:

No Zack, they actually had destroyed it. They beat it into a bloody tangled mess of dead tangos stacked so high that they blotted out the sun, They killed so many of the local bad guys and the thousands of jihadist visitors that King Leonidas sent a dispatch saying “Dag! Nice work”. So when you say “the US military and allied Sunni militias famously defeated it” I will accept your words, but not the snotty tone with which you meant them.

You see Zack, the Surge worked. We won the war. The Iraqis actually formed a legitimate democratic government. And then we walked away and said “There you go a Republic, if you can keep it”. We took our toys and left. The Bush administration agreed to take all our troops out because that was the only way to get all the Iraqi factions to join in a government. But neither the Iraqis or us expected that to be the final deal. We and they rightfully expected a follow on negotiation about a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) after their elections and some minor legitimacy for the new government.

We needed to stay because they needed our help to actually make the whole thing work. The groundwork was laid, but the new US President Barack Obama completely torpedoed the negotiations and made sure we couldn’t stay and help. So they were on their own with Iran on one side and Syria on the other, both of whom had been huge enablers of the insurgency in the first place. It is hardly surprising that the Iraqis didn’t dominate at the democracy or the security on their own. And all of us who could identify the clue bag pointed out that our departure would yield this exact outcome. 

……………………………………………….*Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson (“Uncle Jimbo”) is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy.



Obama Will Think About It Later, After a Fundraiser in Palm Springs and Some Golf Time? by The Elephant's Child

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This is apparently what ISIS currently has in mind. (Click to enlarge) For now. This group was formed in Syria and has moved into northern Iraq. The have been called an al Qaeda affiliate, but al Qaeda has rejected them because of their extreme violence. They are shooting and beheading people indiscriminately.

ISIS seeks to impose its vision of a single radical Islamist state stretching from the Mediterranean coast of Syria through modern Iraq, the region of the Islamic Caliphates established in the seventh and eighth centuries. In Iraq, the Kurds have carved out a homeland in the north of the country with the help of the Turks and against the wishes of the Iraqi government, that exports their own oil, runs its own border operations and has organized its own military. Shiite militias from Lebanon have moved into Syria and operated with the Syrian government. Syrian refugees have fled into Lebanon, and Lebanon now has more school age Syrian children than Lebanese children. Borders are dissolving.

When we went to war in Iraq, the Left was furious. The Left hated Bush. They said so. They hated the way he walked. They hated his squint. They hated the way he talked and made endless fun of his mangled words. They hated the way he took charge in the wake of 9/11.

It comes down to this “A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W.Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there—a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women—and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.
Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over, the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored. In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press.
……………………Michael Barone, Real Clear Politics, June 12, 2006.

That is the press from whom Obama learned about Iraq. And that was his view of Bush’s war. He came to office despising everything Bush, and blaming Bush for everything unpleasant he had to face, oblivious to the fact that every president faces unexpected problems.

Obama lives in a fantasy world of his own making. He is so accustomed to putting whatever comes up into words favorable to himself that he often cannot distinguish between what he said to make himself look good and the actual truth. I cannot imagine, with the need for urgent action so pressing, the president taking off for a trip to Palm Springs and another fundraiser, and a little golf.

The much despised George W. Bush had a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki once a week and worked at teaching the Prime Minister how to set secularism aside and manage a country. Obama had little contact and was clearly uninterested in anything beyond pulling out as rapidly as possible, so the status of forces agreement was not of particular importance to either party.

Barack Obama pulled out of Iraq because he had no understanding of World War I and World War II, and how just walking away from the first made the second inevitable. Defeat must be complete, and sometimes you have to put a country back together enough for them to become functional. He had no understanding of what a broken country Iraq was under the control of Saddam Hussein. Obama says his foreign policy is “Don’t do stupid s––t.” Sometimes doing nothing, or ignoring the urgency of the moment, is the stupidest thing of all.




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