American Elephants


Reminder: Iran is Not On Our Side, Not Now, Not Ever. by The Elephant's Child

Iranian_Supreme_Leader_Ayatollah_Ali_Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the “new world order is emerging” and that “Iran will have a strong role in creating it,” according to a Farsi language transcript of Khamenei’s remarks late last week to the country’s Assembly of Experts.

Iran will lead this “new world order” that will replace American influence as capitalism and Western influence collapses, according to Khamenei, who underwent surprise prostate surgery on Monday.

“Iran will have a strong role in creating the new world order,” Khamenei said, explaining that Tehran will expand its already growing influence in Latin America and even Asia.

We have important potential outside Iran, we have supporters, we have strategic depth, in the region, some because of Islam, some because of language, some because of Shia religion, they are our strategic depth, these are all our strengths, we should use them all.”

And it is not only in the region, outside the region, in Latin America we have strategic depth, in some important parts of Asia we have strategic depth, we have the tools to use these opportunities and we have to use these opportunities, using them makes the country strong.

A sign of the West’s waning power came when “the Zionist regime of Israel” supposedly “lost the battle against the small population of the Muslims in Gaza” according to a separate recounting of Khamenei’s remarks published by the state-run Fars News Agency.

The recent war in Gaza was an example of miracle; a small region with limited capabilities accomplished a task that brought the Zionist regime, as the symbol of the West’s power, to its knees” he was quoted as saying. “The current world order cannot continue and a new order is emerging.”

Back in the real world, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer warned against including Iran in any coalition to derail the jihadist group. “A nuclear Iran would be a thousand times greater threat to the world than ISIS, he told guests at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at his residence. He also cautioned the U.S. against accommodating Iran during the current effort to degrade ISIS. He praised the American president for leading a coalition to defeat the terror group, but warned that Iran must not be a partner in this effort.

Now I know there is still some absurd talk in certain quarters about Iran being a partner in solving problems in the Middle East,” Dermer said. “They are not a partner, they were not a partner, they never will be a partner. Iran as a nuclear power is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS.”



Dancing Around the Subject of Boots on the Ground by The Elephant's Child

bootsWhite House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained carefully today that “I think the way that I would describe it is that everybody did — that everybody was surprised to see the rapid advance that ISIS as ale to make from Syria across the Iraqi border and to be able to take over large swaths of territory in Iraq — did come as a surprise.”

Jonathan Karl, ABC News reporter questioned, during the White House Press Briefing, Obama’s comments during his CBS 60 Minutes interview that the intelligence community had “underestimated” the strength of ISIS in Syria.

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said.

Karl brought up the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who warned back in February that ISIS  “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014.”

Josh Earnest responded that the president was simply referring to Clapper’s comments and had “complete confidence” in the intelligence community.

Clapper became director of national intelligence to “Obamacize” America’s intelligence operations according to Investors. He replaced Admiral Dennis Blair who was described by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) as being “cut off at every turn” by a White House intent on treating terrorism as a law-enforcement problem. Hence all the “workplace violence” claims, and refusal to say the word ‘terrorism’ or ‘war.’ Investor continued:

You could also see it all in the venom that accompanied Obama’s laying the blame on former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for not producing “a government that had built a sense of national unity.”

New Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, says Obama, “so far at least has sent all the right signals.” And so “it goes back to” that “we can’t do this for them” — the familiar Democrat rationale for pulling troops out prematurely from Iraq. These countries that have never known representative government must “think about what political accommodation means, think about what tolerance means,” according to Obama.

Richard Epstein said that Obama does not change his mind. If he once believes something, it is set in concrete, and he believes it today. The preceding comments suggest that Obama expects far more change to come from Iraqi Prime Ministers  than he is willing to consider for himself.  This is the leader of the free world trying to explain to the cameras why a country infested with terrorists didn’t follow the program devised for them by a political party in this country wrote to win an election.

Everyone is noticing that when Obama takes credit it is all “I” and “my success.” When it doesn’t go well, somebody else gets the blame — that’s all “they and “you,” or even the passive “We.” Obama himself is never, never at fault.

The air strikes are apparently all taking place at night on previously noted targets. ISIS is moving in among the general population to make themselves safe from American attack — exactly as we were told they would respond.  So we have some advisers on the ground, apparently bootless, but no troops. So this is a war that is not a war, but merely an advisory role with a coalition of Arab states who are going along with our air strikes with their planes, or not. It is not exactly clear who is doing what.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal is titled “The Obama-Military Divide,” with the subhead “what should senior officers do if experience tells them that the president’s plan to defeat ISIS is unworkable without U.S. Combat troops?”  It is abundantly clear that the president has little understanding of things military and how the military works. He remains stuck on hating Bush for the Iraq War, and believing that ending the War in Iraq was what got him elected. I believe he’s wrong on all counts.



Let’s Go Back to Calling it “The War Department.” by The Elephant's Child

Professor Stephen L. Carter had a fine column at Bloomberg, and I’m delighted to see that others have noticed the general obfuscation of dancing around the language without ever calling anything by its name. Political language attempts to mold and sway public opinion, and often does so quite successfully to our great misfortune. We can deal with the truth, but we are being asked to deal with a tissue of lies that we are told represents truth. They have to obfuscate so we will keep them in office. Here’s Professor Carter:

Not content with fighting over whether to call the war on Islamic State a war, and whether to call Islamic State the enemy, we are now arguing whether to call Islamic State Islamic State.

Ah, the words of war. War has never brought out the best in the language. This administration, like its predecessor, is prosecuting its war that isn’t a war under the authority of a declaration of war that isn’t a declaration of war but an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force.” (In keeping with this dubious approach, the dollar costs of these wars that are not wars are not carried on our budget that isn’t a budget.)

There will be U.S. ground forces in Iraq, but they are not to be called boots on the ground, although they will be on the ground and presumably wearing boots. The war that is not a war against the enemy that is not an enemy will be prosecuted in Syria, too, although Syria, lacking a government recognized in the West, may not actually be Syria. …

This obfuscation of language is not confined to war, but perhaps just more noticeable. It’s a standard trick in the hands of the propagandist. Read the whole thing.



The Rise of the New Caliphate and Its Inevitable Fall by The Elephant's Child

ISIS-fighters
Here’s your Sunday reading assignment. I know, I  know, you don’t have the time, and why should you pay any attention to my advice about your choices in what you want to read anyway? I read these three pieces and have been pondering them ever since. Real food for thought, and I’d love to start a conversation. But of course it’s entirely up to you. You would find them deeply informative, in contrast to the media take.

— The first is a conversation between Michael Vlahos, a professor of history at the Naval War College, and John Batchelor on the John Batchelor show on Friday, September 26. They remind us that Syria is a product of the West’s attempt to cut up and redefine the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of the First World War. Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Wilson attempted to divide up the Ottoman Empire into nation states in imitation of — ourselves. Professor Vlahos’s theme is our lack of understanding of Islam and the Middle East — and the quagmire we are blundering into without understanding. It’s just over 18 minutes, but worth your time.

— The second is an article by Edward N. Luttwak,  from the Hoover Institution’s “Strategika” which intends to use conflicts of the past as lessons for the present: “Caliphate Redivivus? Why a Careful Look at the 7th Century Can Predict How the New Caliphate Will End.” Never fear, the article is hardly long enough to compensate for the long title. It takes us on a speed run through the history of the Muslim Caliphates, to note that when modern Muslims invoke the Caliphate as their ideal of governance for the Ummah, the planetary community of all Muslims and all humans once converted or killed if stubbornly pagan, they refer way back to the rule of Muhammad’s first four “rightly guided” successors who followed one after another after his death in 632. Not least because their reign saw the collapse of the then all-powerful  Roman and Sassanian empires who had long dominated all the lands of the Middle East fertile enough to be worth ruling. Wildly improbable victories, that were soon followed by waves of conquest across northern Africa to the Atlantic and as far east as the eastern edges of Central Asia.

— The third is another piece from the Hoover Institution’s “Strategika” on “The Rise and Inevitable Fall of the ISIS Caliphate” by Peter R. Mansoor. The rise of the modern al Qaeda in the Hindu Kush in the Soviet-Afghan conflict in the 1980’s goal is to 1.) attack the”far enemy” — the United States— to force its withdrawal from the affairs of the Islamic world, 2.) destabilize the “near enemy” — the Arab/Islamic states of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia 3.) destroy Israel, and 4.) recreate the caliphate that ruled the Islamic during it’s heyday a millennium ago. The first part of the strategy was 9/11.

The near-term response was not what they expected, but the longer-term outcome may be more in their favor as Americans seem to tire of seemingly endless conflict. The U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq along with the more recent uprisings of the Arab spring have seriously weakened a number of the Islamic states. The new jihadist proto-state in Mesopotamia and the Levant is an emerging reality.

Is it really a case of no matter what we do—we’re screwed? Or is it only a case of treading cautiously and encouraging alternatives around the inevitable collapse of the Islamic State?

A ” transparent” White House would help, and a media more interested in reporting the facts would also help — but in the meantime we’re left to our own defenses. Informed is better than the alternatives.



Attacking ISIS In An Environmentally Sound Way, With Weapons Obama Scrapped. by The Elephant's Child

To protect the environment, coalition forces will attack only small capacity mobile petroleum refineries but not fixed oil fields, in order to minimize the potential for environmental damage. (escaping carbon) It’s a precaution, they say. I gather that a mobile petroleum refinery is a modular make-shift refiner capable of being set up elsewhere, but I freely admit I know nothing about that. They are used to process oil from the Syrian fields into diesel fuel which is then smuggled across the border into Turkey. which gets them up to $2 million a day to support their efforts.

From a strategic perspective, the decision to leave ISIS oil fields intact makes little sense. On the other hand it’s not smart to repeat the damage in 1991 when Saddam Hussein set Kuwaiti oil fields on fire. The government says they are attempting not to destroy a potential future for post-Assad Syria.

In another odd note, the president is launching attacks on the Islamic State with two weapons that he targeted for elimination years before their usefulness ended or when replacements were ready. He slashed the budgets and weapons systems that he opposed, yet suddenly at the start of a long and sustained campaign to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist group, he’s finding the military quite useful.

The first strikes on Monday included 47 Tomahawk missiles fired from two guided missile warships, part of the George H.W. Bush carrier battle group. The Tomahawk was slated by Obama to be phased out though there is no timely replacement. The Navy last year had plans to buy 980 more Tomahawks ans the primary cruise missile used throughout the fleet.   Obama has already fired off almost half of next year’s planned purchases.

The Syrian campaign was expected to be tougher going than the effort in Libya where there was no serious air defense weaponry to worry about. The Air Force chose to use the F-22 Raptor for the first time in combat because its ability to evade radar detection and high-speed maneuverability make it ideal for high-risk environments. Obama called it a “Cold War ” weapon and slated it for the scrap heap.

Someone noted the other day that Obama went to great lengths to avoid saying the word ‘war.’ He’s called it an ‘effort,’ a ‘process,’ a ‘fight,’ a ‘campaign’,and ‘a moment of American leadership.’ That’s a pretty impressive list of avoidance vocabulary.

It’s nice to believe firmly that peace is good, and that with expert diplomacy we can avoid these nasty little wars. Trouble is we don’t have expert diplomacy. We have John Kerry, and previously the reset button Hillary Clinton, and a couple of unserious young women as  spokespersons for the State Department.



ISIS Is Recruiting Openly in American Mosques. The FBI Has Been Forbidden To Use Religion to Monitor Them. by The Elephant's Child

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical to our nation’s security. There is no other non-governmental group that has better intelligence or data on the threat to the United States and our allies. Making do with a bare bones budget, the IPT is a national treasure whose influence and achievements are unparalleled.

That is from U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It is not an exaggeration to say that because of Democrat political correctness hamstringing our FBI agents, they could not combat the Islamists in our midst without Steven Emerson. The former head of FBI Investigations and Counter-Terrorism said “The Investigative Project has been one of the most important sources of accurate and timely information on the real goals and objectives of the widespread and powerful Islamist movement.”

Emerson said “Isis is Al Qaeda 3.0. They are already in the United States and the only reason there has not been a terror attack is that they have not decided to do it yet.”

The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States…

the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland.

…we’re seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States.

Emerson says there are three to four hundred ISIS killers in Syria and Iraq with American passports, who can return whenever they want and the Obama administration has blocked the FBI from monitoring them in mosques. Obama will do nothing to revoke the passports of those who have gone to fight with ISIS, and has forbidden the FBI from using Religion to identify terror threats.  Political correctness gone amok. I hope we do not have to pay too heavy a price.



The Democrats’ Distaste for Human Nature by The Elephant's Child

Republicans, at least some of us, spend far too much time trying to figure out Democrats. We just don’t understand why they believe the things they do, when it is so obvious….
That’s how politics works. Democrats, I often call “the perpetually discontented”. They just don’t like much of anything the way it is, and want to fix it, or at least change it.  The problem is human nature. They don’t like that either.

Their distaste for human nature as it is, is clear enough. Democrats are sure that peace is the natural state of affairs, and war is an ugly outbreak that should not be permitted. We agree that war is an ugly outbreak, and think peace is much to be desired, but we don’t believe that reminding terrorists that peace is to be preferred accomplishes much. Republicans’ most basic acknowledgment is that a people who can’t always get along with members of their own families, are probably by nature fractious, and nations will have a hard time getting along as well as families.

This is why we have political correctness, and multiculturalism and controls on free speech on campus. I could go on and on, but they are trying desperately to control by regulation, law, and societal disapproval all those tendencies that they dislike so much in human nature. No more Polish jokes, you may not call Islamists Islamist. Can’t we all just get along? And if you are not cooperating, we will have a new regulation to be sure that you do. Or perhaps we’ll send a SWAT team, and confiscate your stuff, and issue huge fines to be sure you understand that you and  your actions have been condemned. No messy human nature allowed.

Polish jokes were once just thought funny, along with Irish jokes and British jokes and Russian jokes and jokes about feminists and jocks. We didn’t lose our sense of humor, we got political correctness and being called down to human resources and possibly even sentenced to ‘sensitivity’ training.  We were told it was just to be “nice,” but that isn’t true at all.

Human nature is messy. We’re nice, and we’re not. We are mean, quarrelsome, insensitive, rude, violent, stupid, ill-informed, crooked, stuck-up, vicious, lazy, honest, hard-working, and liars. If you just try to make a list of some of the qualities, good or bad, of human nature, it is astonishing how many words there are to describe the various attributes of us. Democrats will continue to try to fix us to their satisfaction. A futile task.




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