American Elephants


Critics Complain About Obama’s Leadership. Does Obama Grasp Why? by The Elephant's Child

Obama ArroganttPresident Obama spoke today at MacDill Air Force Base. But he wanted everybody to know that there would be no boots on the ground. He is still talking about is grand coalition, but he doesn’t mention who is actually in it, and he’s not going to have any boots on the ground. Somebody else can do that. But the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.

All his generals and advisors have told him that he cannot succeed with ISIS without having boots on the ground. Isis fighters will shelter among civilians, and use those civilians as shields. It is hard to know what he has in mind, it apparently is a personal political decision. Certainly the last of the anti-war left is part of his base and those who are sure that peace is natural state of mankind in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Obama seldom attends his national security briefings, and seems totally unfamiliar with the realms of strategy and intelligence.

Mr. Obama has a bad habit of telling the enemy just what he will and won’t do, leaving nothing to the imagination. There are no plans for the outcome, no contingency plans for the time when the terrorists merge into the civilian population, nor for when the actual fighters fail to take Fallujah or Tikrit. Then what?

We have heard him speak before on situations like this. He is a more qualified field commander than his generals, a better planner than that bunch in the Pentagon. Or it’s all about politics and only politics matters. His constant emphasis that he will have no troops on the ground seems the ultimate in a warped Bush-hatred

I think Obama thought he was riding to election on the basis of giant waves of Bush hatred. Nancy Pelosi said something dumb today about Democrats never having been as rude and nasty to President Bush as Republicans were to President Obama. When Republicans recovered from raucous laughter, and were able to stop giggling, they thought gratefully of Minority Leader Pelosi and DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with runaway mouths and little sense — gifts that keep on giving.

The emphatic “no boots on the ground” came along awkwardly with the other announcement that the president was sending 3,000 troops to Africa to fight Ebola. Many found that announcement preposterous. However, the 3,000 number is  heavy on corpsmen, medics, and the experts who can build field hospitals and erect intensive care units.

The situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is dire. Hospitals are overburdened and there are not enough beds, What health system there is is near collapse. The military command center will be in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region. Personnel from the U.S Public health Service will deploy to the new field hospitals. New isolation units and more than 1,000 beds. More than 2,500 men, women and children have died, and patients are being turned away. People are dying in the streets.

ISIS is to be degraded and disrupted— not defeated, at least not yet. If ever. To put “boots on the ground” Obama would have to admit that he was mistaken, and that he does not do. That would take something over 25,000 boots on the ground. Investors remarked that “Liberals always want to wage war by not admitting war is war.”We’ll see. I’m deeply unimpressed with Obama’s politicized ideology, his complete inability to admit fault of any kind, and his tendency to overrule his best advisers because he knows better.  I’m betting on the White House deputy who said they’d leave this mess for the next administration.



Our Public Schools Are Being Flooded With Sick, Infectious Children by The Elephant's Child

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The “mystery” virus that is hospitalizing children all over the U.S. seems to be closely related to “Human rhinoviruses and entroviruses in influenza-like illness in Latin America.” The federal government has been anxious to get the illegal alien children creating chaos near the border indiscriminately distributed around the United States. Since the object is amnesty for all, and putting all into our public schools, they want to get them out of the inadequate facilities where they are first “processed.”

Too many embarrassing pictures are being posted. It is noticed that no one is being shipped back home. They’re not getting medically screened, but just put on buses or planes to another part of the country, and theoretically told to report back for their hearing in 15 days, but only a miniscule percentage actually turn up.

Twin Cities internist Chris Foley wrote to Powerline to address the case of the mystery virus.

This is basically the same virus commonly seen in the equatorial Americas and South America. The very odd emergence of this virus at this time – especially just prior to the new school year and now fueled by the congregation of children in schools – demands an explanation. The only plausible one is that this has been brought here from south of the – now non-existent – border.

Although there will be a good deal of epidemiological work to be done before this can be scientifically associated, there is a deafening silence on the part of public health officials and the mainstream media in even speculating about this association. This is not simply a case of being politically selective about the news, it is downright dangerous and could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the emergence of diseases long absent from daily life in America now suddenly popping up “inexplicably.” By the way the article from the Journal that I cited [linked above] likely represents gross underreporting which is typical in South America.

Obama has been so anxious to regularize the influx of illegals, particularly children, that he has ignored one regulation or law after another— apparently making it up as he goes along. The kids have been shipped out all over the country, and local public schools have been told to accept them without asking any questions. Like have they been medically screened? How old are they? (There are reports of 31 year-old ‘children’). They do not speak English. Who is going to pay for this influx? Have they reported back for their formal immigration hearing? Are they going to be deported or returned to their home country? School districts are beginning to scream about how they are to cope and who is going to pay.

All is based on the illusion that Hispanic voters want illegal aliens to receive amnesty, but that seems not to be the case. Sixty-four percent of Hispanics say they want them sent back home, and 77 percent of Americans also want them returned home. Only 11 percent of the people favor amnesty. Obama is getting a slight inkling that amnesty is not popular—he is putting it off till after the election. That grab-bag of unpopular ideas put off till later when, hopefully, no one will notice.

This is seeming like a political move, poorly thought out, that is showing more and more evidence of turning into a colossal catastrophe. And the now-open borders promise terrorist attacks. This is not just simple incompetence, it’s far, far worse.

The United States will never have control of its borders, and the influx will not stop until we say our laws have clear meaning, and illegal aliens must return home. After that, our immigration laws can be rewritten with work permits for those who want only the opportunity to work, and perhaps some leeway for those who have been here for years through no fault of their own. But at some point you must demand that the laws be obeyed — in spite of all protestations. There is no other way.



What Was Missing In Obama’s Foreign Policy by The Elephant's Child

From Defense analyst Nadia Schadlow writing at warontherocks.com — via the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable column Sept. 7, 2014:

President Obama’s commitment to reducing America’s reliance on the military instrument of power is well-known. It has been a constant theme of his presidency—from his first presidential campaign through his major speech on foreign policy at West Point earlier this year. It is therefore paradoxical that the administration’s foreign policy outlook and operational style have made use of the military instrument almost unavoidable. By failing to understand that the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention—American foreign policy risks being reduced to a reactive and tactical emphasis on the military instrument by default. . . .

The tactical mindset that dominates national security decision-making prioritizes military means over political ends and confuses activity (such as the bombing of enemy positions) with progress. Because the use of military force is not connected to operational plans for subsequent political consolidation, the United States vacates the space between war and peace. And because they cannot match American military power directly, it is in this space—battlegrounds of perception, coercion, mass atrocity—that America’s enemies and adversaries prefer to operate.

“the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention.” I love it when someone calls to our attention something seemingly obvious to which we pay little attention, and changes the pattern of our thought.

Excellent website. Add warontherocks to your  choice website list!



The Boston Marathon Bombing Was Not an Act of Terrorism by The Elephant's Child

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As long as we’re talking about the careful parsing of language, according to the Boston Globe,“the Boston Marathon bombing attacks were not an “act of terrorism,” the U.S. Treasury Department has ruled, which conveniently means terrorism insurance claims need not be paid out in full.”

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which created federally backed insurance in cases of damage due to terrorism. Some Boston businesses were among those that bought the insurance.

Those purchases became relevant after the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Of the 160 companies located near the marathon’s finish line that submitted insurance claims, just 14 percent had purchased terrorism insurance, Insurance Journal reported.

And of course Major Hassan’s massacre of his fellow service-members is still designated “workplace violence,” without the slightest acknowledgment of reality. But then that simply deprives the wounded of medical care and purple hearts, and the recognition that they were wounded in the line of duty. They probably don’t particularly care about the medal, but the benefits matter.



War Talk — Exposed! by The Elephant's Child

The internet is alive with War Talk.  Not, unfortunately, talk about aims and principles, but talk about the use of the word “War.” President Obama did not use the word “war” in his ISIS speech, except to say what the American effort against ISIS is not. “This is not a combat mission—we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq…I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

He did say that the Islamic State “is not ‘Islamist’ and “is certainly not a state.” John Kerry, who theoretically engages in affairs of state, said the war is not a war. “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation.”

Since Democrats don’t believe in principles, but react to events on a case-by-case basis — they spend a lot of effort in parsing language. Republicans and possibly most Americans react to the event of beheading a couple of American journalists on You Tube with the straightforward principle that ISIS obviously just declared war on us, and they will not get away with that.

Obama believes that he was elected to get us out of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe he was elected because a large percentage of the American electorate believed it would be a very good thing to have the first black president, especially one who was so cool. One thing we have learned in the intervening years is that Barack Obama is never, ever to blame, and he will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being blamed.

The choices, from the very beginning, have all been bad. We sympathize, but that’s part of the deal. Harry Truman kept a sign on his desk saying “The buck stops here.” George W. Bush said ” I’m the decider”— he meant that as president, the messes arrived on his desk and he had to accept the difficulty and the blame if things go wrong. That’s why presidents have a lot of national security advisers, and regularly scheduled  briefings on the situation all over the world. Those two presidents had to make some very big decisions that are still questioned today. But they decided.

The fear of being blamed and the fear of being accused of going to war in Obama’s case has led to delay, and more delay. Mona Charen wrote:

Obama is particularly rigid in his adherence to leftist beliefs, but he is hardly an outlier in the Democratic Party. Democrats tend to believe that the natural state of the world is peace, and that if the U.S. is modest and unthreatening, it will be rewarded with happy allies and docile adversaries. Obama’s conviction that the U.S. should act only in support of allies in very limited circumstances, and seek accommodation with adversaries like Russia and Iran, is widely shared in the Democratic Party.

Even the appearance of ISIS couldn’t shake Obama’s belief that wars are “optional” and that, as he said in 2013, “This war, like all wars, must end.” As if the enemy doesn’t get a vote. Asked in January whether the specter of ISIS didn’t cast doubt on the wisdom of pulling every last U.S. soldier out of Iraq, Obama waved it off by calling them the “JV” team.

Obama’s six years of outreach to the Muslim community have yielded only the most chaos in the region since World War II. Mixed messages are the rule of the day. Joe Biden’s promise to go to the Gates of Hell to punish the beheaders doesn’t go comfortably with the President’s plan to reduce ISIS to a manageable problem, and everybody notices. Our allies and our enemies parse the words from this presidency, and they have pretty uniformly refrained from Obama’s broad coalition, on grounds that strong leadership is just not there.

After a day of riotous humor at the squirming avoidance of the word “war,” the administration will —very carefully — use the word.

You cannot help, however, finding it amusing at how frequently the Democrats bandy about the phrase “War on Women,” which seems to be about battling to get equal pay for women, which has been settled law since 1963. And of course they are up in arms about the Hobby Lobby decision which does not require businesses who have a conscientious objection to providing abortofacients for their employees to do so. Doesn’t prevent anyone from buying them over-the-counter. But if one employer escapes being forced to pay for something repugnant to their religion — it’s WAR?



There Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Across The Middle East And Africa by The Elephant's Child

While all our attention is focused on Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria is sweeping across northeast Nigeria with equally brutal means to attempt to break up the most populous nation on the continent.

Boko Haram overran Gwoza, a city of about 275,000 in Borno state, declaring on August 24, that the town now had “nothing to do with Nigeria”— and declared it part of “the Islamic caliphate.

This is the area where the kidnapping of schoolgirls in April gave birth to the hashtag campaign #Bring Back Our Girls. Wars are not won and problems are not settled with hashtag signs. Other events in the news cycle soon took over the attention of the world. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau called the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as among his brethren, as well as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar. Security experts have said that Borno state may be the start of Boko Haram’s new country. They are aggressively attacking the Nigerian military which is poorly equipped and under armed.

It is a particularly vicious  terrorist organization, linked to other terrorist organizations. Bombings, assassinations and kidnappings, genocide on Christians, attacks on schools where the students are taken if they are girls, or slaughtered if they are boys, and they have begun to operate like a conventional army with tanks and artillery.

When these groups are victorious their recruiting is more successful. They seem like conquering heroes and the bloodlust and brutality are an attraction until their armies are decimated, and reality sets in.



Figuring Out Barack Obama. Take 137 A. by The Elephant's Child

I think I’ve got Obama figured out. Yes, yes, I know — join the crowd. The line is right over there. Just get in the back.

Obama has a  bad case of BBUL, not to be confused with a bubble, like the bubble occupied by most inhabitants of the White House. No, this stands for “Bright But Unusually Lazy”— BBUL. Valerie Jarrett gave us a clue:

I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So, what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.

Well, Law professor Richard Epstein disagreed. He said famously that Barack Obama “imitates an intellectual.”He got some flack for that statement, but he did not back down.

No, I have known several people like this. Given a book, or an assignment, they will read the introduction or the first few paragraphs and feel that they understand what the article or book contains. They know the rest of it and feel no need to continue, because they really get bored by reading. And they managed to get through college with snips and snatches of the material and filling in with a glance at the summary. Grade inflation in the Ivy League helped. They never studied any matter in depth, never re-read, and never discussed and compared the material with someone else. They already knew enough. And they never read further in the subject in books written by someone with a different take.

It’s the difference between passing a quiz and mastering a subject.

Ever notice in reports of meetings with Obama and how he sits back and absorbs what everyone has to say, then rounds up the important points and, changing them slightly, claims them as his own?

Or take the number of “Czars” in the White House. Granted, an artificial name for officials appointed by the president without Senate confirmation. Wikipedia claims 44 appointees for Obama, 11 for Bill Clinton, 33 for George W. Bush but the numbers aren’t really important. We know there are a lot. And they seem to be appointed to be experts in subjects or policies that Obama doesn’t know much about. He has, reportedly, asked that they present him with a very short summary on a policy and 3 choices. From those he will pick one as his policy.

It is reported that he doesn’t like meetings, and does not attend them. That he seldom attends his national security briefings. That he talks only to his closest advisors, mostly Valerie Jarrett.

So that’s where we are. The September 7 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll reports that 67% of the people believe the country is on the wrong track, more than at this point in any midterm election is two decades. Daniel Henninger in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal:

In a 2008 New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza, Mr. Obama is quoted telling another aide: “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” Also, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.”

In the days before Mr. Obama’s ISIS address to the nation, news accounts cataloged his now-embarrassing statements about terrorism’s decline on his watch—the terrorists are JV teams, the tide of war is receding and all that….

Some of these gaffes came in offhand comments, but others were embedded in formal speeches from the presidential pen, such as the definitive Obama statement on terrorism last May at the National Defense University: “So that’s the current threat—lethal yet less-capable al Qaeda affiliates.” A year later, ISIS seized one-third of Iraq inside a week.

I don’t know. I’m worried about what might happen tomorrow. I found myself wishing something horrible would happen to wake up this president, and then was horrified at the wish. It would make no difference to Obama. Major Hassan massacred his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, and the administration has never been able to acknowledge anything beyond “workplace violence.” The Tsarnaev brothers bombed the Boston Marathon. The shooting at the Navy Yard  in D.C. left 13 dead. All on Obama’s watch. And he still has trouble with the terrorism word.

A reluctant president goes to war. Will he be there when the going gets rough? Somebody in the White House said a day or so ago that they would leave this war for the next administration.




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