American Elephants


Why Yes, We Knew — We Just Didn’t Do Anything About It! by The Elephant's Child

Weren’t we told by the administration that they were blindsided by the rapid advance by ISIS last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to this new jihadi army that seemed to come out of nowhere? They not only captured Mosul, but five divisions of the Iraqi army fell and we heard of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, and terrified residents fled before the onslaught as the long column headed towards Baghdad.

The administration, according to the record was not surprised at all. Congressional testimony as far back as November made it cleat that the United States had been closely tracking the black-clad jihadis, a ruthless al Qaeda spinoff. Intelligence officials had been closely tracking the group since 2012.

According to McClatchy, Obama administration officials were quite aware of the group’s intention to send men and material back into Iraq and turn loose waves of suicide bombers, which they knew that Iraqi security forces could not handle. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee in February that the campaign had the stated objective of carving out a Caliphate in the western regions of Iraq and Syria.

So — if the Obama administration had all that advance warning why are they still trying to figure out what steps, if any, they should take to stop their advance? With all the pictures of the long ISIS column strung out on the road to Baghdad, it looked like a pretty vulnerable target, but I’ve probably read too many thrillers.

They’ve seized all sorts of Iraqi military equipment, drained banks of their assets, seized oil and natural gas fields, military outposts. Nearly every day we hear about another town that has fallen or another outrage they have committed.

What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.

Yet Defense Department officials say they might not complete work on proposed options for U.S. actions until the middle of August, a lifetime in a region where every day brings word of another town or village falling to the Islamic State. Some lawmakers and experts say the delay borders on diplomatic malpractice.

Chairman Royce said Iraqi officials and diplomats at our embassy began urging drone strikes as early as August last year against Islamic State bases near the Syrian border.

This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser on the Middle East.

“This miscalculation essentially has helped realize the worst nightmare for this administration, an administration that prided itself on its counterterrorism strategy,” said Nasr. “It is now presiding over the resurgence of a nightmare of extremism and terrorism.”

The article from the Merced Sun Star is long and, frankly, depressing. Dithering, indecision, Obama believes one of his greatest accomplishments is ending the war in Iraq, he can’t undo that. Drawing red lines in Syria, misunderstanding the Middle East. Obama came to office believing that the key to the problems of the Middle East was Israeli intransigence. If he could broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, then the problems of the Middle East would end. That’s why Kerry has been over there wearing out his welcome, pushing absurd agreements. Obama seems to have learned about the Middle East from his friend Rashid Khalidi, the firebrand Palestinian professor.

Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller has a column in Britain’s Telegraph today, suggesting that “Barack Obama has already checked out of his job,” in which he suggests that Obama is “no longer even worried about keeping up appearances, he doesn’t care enough to fake it.”

The United States has apparently not yet delivered the helicopter gunships and F-16 jet fighters that Iraq has already purchased. The administration has also dragged its feet on Baghdad’s request for U.S. military advisers, though 300 were dispatched after Mosul fell. Obama doesn’t seem to get along with Maliki. George W. Bush had weekly video conferences with him.

Gaza’s charter says they will eliminate Israel and take over the land. That’s fairly clear and straightforward. The Islamic State says they have established a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and then…? Putin is still busily working to take over the Ukraine, al Qaeda is threatening a cyber attack on the United States. We have thousands of children, (mostly between the ages of 14 and 17) who are being recruited by MS-17.  Obama says he wants to send them back home, but he is settling them in all over the country, and schools will be expected to take the kids. The border is wide open because Border Patrol people have been called away to deal with the ‘unaccompanied children’, and security officials are worried. More businesses are moving their corporate offices overseas to escape taxes, and Obama can’t think of anything to do but punish them. Cutting taxes is not in his vocabulary.

What’s the old saying? Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.



He Didn’t Know! Can’t Be Blamed. Didn’t Know! by The Elephant's Child

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(click to enlarge)

He didn’t know that these unaccompanied minors had all sorts of contagious diseases unseen in this country for years. He didn’t know that there were Mara Salvatrucha recruiters among the unaccompanied minors. He didn’t have time to go to the border to spare from his fundraising. He didn’t know there were Americans aboard that Air Malaysian plane that was shot down by Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, because he had fundraisers to attend. He didn’t know that the world turmoil hasn’t been this bad since the 1970’s. He was only a kid then, so he didn’t know.



World Turmoil Unseen Since the Seventies. Now What? by The Elephant's Child

A Wall Street Journal’s front page article on Monday said politely “Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since 70s.” “A convergence of security crises is playing out around the globe from the Palestinian territories and Iraq to Ukraine and the South Chin Sea, posing a serious challenge to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and reflecting a world in which U .S. global power seems increasingly tenuous.”

The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam.

In the past month alone, the U.S. has faced twin civil wars in Iraq and Syria, renewed fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, an electoral crisis in Afghanistan and ethnic strife on the edge of Russia, in Ukraine.

Bewildered leftists say that he promised to end the War in Iraq, and wind down the war in Afghanistan and he did. He fulfilled his campaign promises. But there is ending and ending. I don’t know if anyone voted for Obama because he said he would end the War in Iraq. They voted for Hope and Change, and fancy theatrics and a litany of carefully crafted meaningless phrases.

Foreign policy is hard, and the big things may be controlled by the little things like personalities, and ego as well as deep knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of a country. Obama wasn’t much interested in foreign policy. He seems to have had in mind simply being the anti-Bush. Bush made wars, he would make peace. Bush had a muscular presence in the world and emphasized American strength. Obama wanted us to be just a nation among other nations, and let other nations deal with stuff. Obama found his national security briefings boring and quit going.

He yanked our people out of Iraq too abruptly and failed to establish a status of forces agreement to help prepare the Iraqi army for just what is happening now. The countries in Eastern Europe didn’t get their missile defense. Obama said in a May speech at West Point that the Obama foreign policy doctrine, would rely on U.S. leadership, but not troop deployments. Well, we’re not any good at the U.S. leadership business either, it seems.

A few meetings with Obama and Hillary’s “reset button” convinced Putin that nobody was likely to do anything, so he went right ahead to annex Crimea. The allies who had relied on America to prevent Russia’s ambitions lost confidence in American action as well. The Taliban got their leaders back. Obama drew a Red Line in Syria, and then erased it. The Arab Spring was misunderstood from the beginning, and the administration fell for the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim to Egypt. The feckless John Kerry has been trying to solve the problems of the Middle East by forcing Israel to give more land to the Palestinian terrorists. The Chinese, watching our military downsize, have decided to upsize theirs and are vigorously growing their navy and submarine fleet and flexing their muscles in the South China Sea.

And there is the self-declared new Caliphate, now encircling Baghdad, another surprise to the administration, and our negotiations with Iran go on. We want assurances, they are happy to give assurances. We seem unable to learn that deception is a way of life in the Middle East, and expect an agreement to be worked out that will enable them to have all the sanctions lifted.To call it all an “Arc of Instability” is perhaps the understatement of the year. But the stakes have never been higher.

Jonathan Karl lists some of the “instabilities.” Obama, we are told, no longer talks to anyone but Valerie Jarrett and Michelle. We are in the best of hands.



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



Iraq Was The Dumb War, Afghanistan Was The Smart One, And Russia Is Our Friend! by The Elephant's Child

ISIS has now renamed itself as the Islamic State that has established a Caliphate stretching across parts of Iraq and Syria. They have bigger ambitions, however. Here is a map of their intended territory. The westernmost territory labeled Maghreb, is the Western Sahara, and includes Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and several other nations. They are reaching back to the Middle Ages when Muslims controlled Spain. They now incorporate almost every nation between Spain and the borders of China.

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The map surfaced on social media as ISIS made strides in conquering cities in Iraq. They seem to be imitating the ruthless behavior of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. as they execute, murder, behead and crucify — sweeping all before them. The map was widely disseminated as the terrorist group formally announced the caliphate under their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who will be the Caliph.

Nine leading jihadist groups in Syria promptly rejected the claim. Their online statement said “the announcement by the rejectionists [the Islamic State] of a caliphate is null and void,” both “legally and logically.”They warn other jihadists individuals and organizations not to support the Islamic State.

Two of the nine signatories are the Islamic Front, a powerful rebel coalition that includes the al Qaeda-linked Ahrar al Sham, and the Majlis Shura al Mujahideen (MSM) in Deir Izzor. The MSM is an alliance of groups, including the Al Nusrah Front, that is opposed to the Islamic State in eastern Syria.

On its Twitter feed, the MSM posted a link to the statement rejecting the Islamic State’s announced caliphate. The MSM says the Islamic State’s announcement is part of “a systematic campaign to distort sharia terms” and the Islamic State has “distorted jihad, sharia, and [the rules for] punishment, and now they want to distort the Caliphate.”

Seeing pictures of little kids recruited as jihadists with their weapons is a little unsettling. These are kids 9, 10 and 11 years old.. On the other hand, an NGO in Syria confirmed that the Islamic State had crucified nine men who were not vigorous enough in their jihad.

Who knows how this will work out. The battle lines between the Islamic State and its rivals are not new. They are all trying to be the leaders. The Caliphate may not be real, but the brutality is. Their stated aim of attacking the U.S. is not encouraging.

The administration was caught by surprise by the ISIS advance. But then they were caught unprepared by Russian aggression. This is a major intelligence failure that should be sounding alarm bells in Washington. And in Afghanistan.the administration is surprised that the Taliban are moving hard against the democratic government. New York Times correspondents described one of the most sophisticated and coordinated assaults on the government in years. The Taliban have attacked police outposts and government facilities across several districts in Northern Helmand province.

The reporters called it “a new worst-case situation for Western officials, an aggressive insurgent push that is seizing territory even before American troops have completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.” Now why do you suppose the Taliban would attack while the Americans are busy elsewhere?



A Dangerous World — The Wages of Weakness. by The Elephant's Child

Obama Profile

No president in my memory has so often referred to himself as “the President of the United States of America”or as “the Commander in Chief,” as if he needs to keep reminding everyone of his importance. Perhaps I’m being unfair. George W. Bush often said of himself “I’m the decider.” That seemed to me to be a humble statement that the troubles of the world landed on his desk and he had to make a difficult decision—whether it turned out well or ill. As I said, perhaps I’m being unfair.

But Bush was right. Decisions have to be made. We may make a decision about Iraq, but as in all conflicts, the other side gets a vote. The Obama administration has admitted that they were blindsided by the ISIS invasion of Iraq and their rapid progress. Obama is accustomed to, well, dithering. He doesn’t like foreign affairs. He likes traveling with an enormous entourage to other countries and making a speech or two, but he came to office convinced that America was a world bully, interfering in other countries, and was no more exceptional than any other country. He has followed a deliberate policy of disengaging from the world and its quarrels.

We called it “the Apology Tour” when Obama made his way around the world bowing to foreign rulers and apologizing for our influence in world affairs. Democrats were offended at the name, but is that really what Democrats believe, that we should fail to assert a positive influence over world events? Or have they remained too enamored with Obama himself to have given it much thought? The world clearly expects more American leadership. Many countries have not done much about raising a military or acquiring major weapons because we were there.

Obama drew a red line that did not faze Assad, turned the Syrian bloodbath over to Vladimir Putin, which undoubtedly led the Russian president to launch his claim on the Crimea and his aggression against Ukraine. Obama frequently cites polls showing American “war weariness,” but just what is meant by that is not clear. America had won the War in Iraq, and Obama just wanted out. As Elliott Abrams said:

 So we got out, fully, completely, cleanly—unless you ask about the real world of Iraq instead of the imaginary world of campaign speeches. We could no longer play the role we had played in greasing relations between Kurds, Shia and Sunnis, and in constraining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian excesses. The result was an Iraq spinning downward into the kind of Sunni-Shia confrontation we had paid so dearly to stop in 2007 and 2008, and ISIS—the newest moniker for al Qaeda in Iraq—saw its chance, and took it.

So we’re back in Iraq—Obama has sent 300 military advisers. That’s a very small number.

I’m inclined to believe that just as members of a family have trouble getting along, so the natural state of world affairs is not peace and harmony. That doesn’t mean that we must be eternally engaged in war. Weakness invites ambitious nations to act on their ambitions.

Putin has long regarded the collapse of the Soviet Union as a disaster and wants to restore its position as a world power. The Mullahs in Iran are quite clear about their ambitions regarding the Great Satan and the Little Satan. The newly enriched and increasingly dangerous fanatics of ISIS have already warned that they will see us in New York. Germany has said the United States must consider a renewed military intervention. “It’s the Americans’ task to deal with security in Iraq.” The  French place the direct cause of the Iraqi implosion on Obama’s decision to back off from air strikes against the Assad regime last August as the fatal step.

Here are some excellent pieces on our current dilemma:



The Official Foreign Policy of the Obama Admistration by The Elephant's Child

This is actually a clip from the British comedy series “Yes, Minister,” but it seems so precisely applicable, and funny, that I couldn’t resist. The comedy that captures accurately the foibles of humanity is always the best, though we like the comedy of the other guy’s foibles better than when our own are exposed.



There Are More Than 50 Million Refugees, For the First Time Since World War II by The Elephant's Child

At the end of 2013, The United Nations Refugee Agency’s report released last Friday says, 51.2 million people were refugees. For the first time since World War II we have more than 50 million people driven from their homes, all too often in fear for their lives. And the numbers can only be increasing exponentially as Iraqis and Syrians flee to neighboring countries.

Of the 51.2 refugees— 12 million are being cared for by the United Nations aid agencies. 6.3 million of those have been displaced for more than five years. The largest numbers of refugees come from Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. The exodus from Iraq has just started. The countries harboring the most refugees are Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan. At the time the report was released the greatest numbers came from the Syrian civil war, with more than 2.5 million Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries. Lebanon is only a small country of 4.5 million people— one fourth of those are refugees. They are quickly running out of basic necessities. And the chaos in Iraq only erupted this month. It takes a lot of fear to make you grab a little of your stuff and run.



Oh Yes, There Were WMD Found in Iraq! They Lied. by The Elephant's Child

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I just explained about the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) found in Iraq during the Iraq War. Douglas Hanson explained that the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) did only a cursory search, neglected information directly under their noses and gave a phony report. The Media chose to emphasize that no WMD were found. Where did you think Assad got the chemical weapons he used on the people of Syria?

Today we have the news that “Iraq Crisis: ISIS jihadists have  Seized Saddam Hussein’s Chemical Weapons Stockpile,”reported by the Telegraph in Britain and by the Wall Street Journal (paywall). In their advance to encircle Baghdad, ISIS has been stripping the banks in the cities they have taken. Estimates of how much cash they have captured range up to a billion, but it seems to be a lot. Officials don’t believe that the ‘militants’ will be able to create a functional weapon from the material. I imagine you can buy quite a few scientists and engineers with their new-found wealth.

U.S. officials don’t believe the Sunni militants will be able to create a functional chemical weapon from the material. The weapons stockpiled at the Al Muthanna complex are old, contaminated and hard to move, officials said.

Nonetheless, the capture of the chemical-weapon stockpile by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, known as ISIS or ISIL, the militant group that is seizing territory in the country, has grabbed the attention of the U.S.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman who has a graduate degree in empty speech, said “We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the ISIL. We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.” John Kerry is “concerned,” Hillary is “concerned.” I’d even bet that Obama is “concerned.”

The Muthanna complex is near Lake Tharthar, roughly 45 miles northwest of Baghdad, an area now firmly in control of the Sunni rebels. ISIS has taken control of most of Anbar province as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.



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?



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.




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