American Elephants


Nobody’s in Charge, Nobody Knows Anything, Incompetence Reigns. by The Elephant's Child

The world is in flames, and those in charge don’t seem up to the job of taking charge. The CDC can’t get their information straight, and can’t seem to talk straight. Panic is allayed with calm, correct information, and knowledge of the facts. The Wall Street Journal addressed the question by saying “the fire-brigade approach clearly isn’t working. A sustained, coherent policy is vital to preventing pandemics.”

The spokesman who attempts to soothe the population with platitudes only makes matters worse. Straight talk, good information. When President Obama declared Ebola a National Security issue, he didn’t calm people’s fears, he inflamed them.

Americans are debating the wisdom of sending several thousand troops rather than asking whether U.S. assistance is organized as efficiently and effectively as it should be? Rather than an effort to deliver effective risk information, we were told that it was unlikely anyone with Ebola would ever enter the country and chances of an epidemic were extremely low.

ISIS is approaching Baghdad, taking precautions to avoid attack with our airstrikes, just as we were told that they would, melting into the population, ending their long parades of armored vehicles. There is some evidence they are using chemical weapons. The Kurds fight on, but desperately need the weapons we have not bothered to give them. Secretary of State John Kerry remarked that:

Kobani is just one community, and it’s a tragedy what is happening there…but we have said from day one it is going to take a period of time to bring the coalition thoroughly to the table, to rebuild some of the morale and capacity of the Iraqi army, and to begin to focus where we ought to be focusing first, which is in Iraq.

Enterovirus D68 is raging, and we are calmed with claims that it goes away in the winter, so don’t worry. Every mother knows that kids bring everything home from school, so people worry.

But never fear. “The Pentagon released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security with  increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster response as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.”

The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our hemisphere,” Mr. Hagel said. “Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability. Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration….

While foreign policy experts have for years warned that climate change could present a future risk to national security, the Pentagon’s characterization of climate change as a threat demanding immediate action represents a significant shift for the military.

Never one to be outdone in the absurdity category, Secretary of State John Kerry  declared “Life as you know it on Earth ends if climate change skeptics are wrong.”

“But even if climate alarmists are wrong, nothing bad can come of enacting their taxes, restrictions and regulations,” Kerry said in a speech at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Another Democrat who never took a course in economics:

The worst that could happen to us is we create a whole lot of new jobs, we kick our economies into gear, we have healthier people, healthier children because we have cleaner air, we live up to our environmental responsibility, we become truly energy independent, and our security is stronger and greater and sustainable as a result. That’s the worst that happens to us.

Eighteen years of a complete lack of warming, and nobody seems to notice that the more immediate danger is a very cold winter and the EPA trying to shut down all of our coal-fired power plants with nothing — nothing — to replace that electricity. Numbers of hurricanes are way down, Numbers of  tornadoes are way down. But those are weather, not climate.

We are in the best of hands. When everybody is completely incompetent, what can possibly go wrong?



So We Are Fighting A Politically Correct War? by The Elephant's Child

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This last week,  Bill Gertz reported that “The Obama administration is failing to wage ideological war against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIS) terrorists over fears that attacking its religious philosophy will violate the constitutional divide between church and state, according to an in-depth inquiry by the Washington Free Beacon.”

“While the government has tried to counter terrorist propaganda, it cannot directly address the warped religious interpretations of groups like ISIL because of the constitutional separation of church and state,” said Quintan Wiktorowicz, a former White House counterterrorism strategist for the Obama administration.

“U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in debates about Islam, and as a result will need to rely on partners in the Muslim world for this part of the ideological struggle,” he said in an email interview.

In his speech to the UN on September 24, President Obama asked the world body to come up with a plan over the next year designed to counter ISIS and al Qaeda’s ideology. He said ending religious wars through an ideological campaign in the Middle East will be “generational” and led by those who live in the region. No external power, he said, can change “hears and minds,” and as a result the U.S. would support others in the unspecified program of “counter extremist ideology.”

Because officials cannot engage in debates about Islam, it makes it a little difficult to clearly define the religious doctrine you’re talking about. And there seems to be a problem there. Statements by the president and administration spokesmen indicate that they don’t understand ISIS ideology, which would be a needed first step.

Most senior administration officials hold “post modern” or “secular” views, and as a result have almost no ability to understand the religious views of violent terrorists. If you don’t take religion seriously yourself, it is impossible to understand the philosophy of a suicide bomber or someone who cuts off peoples’ heads in the name of jihad.

Senior State Department officials have expressed the idea that ideology does not play a role in Islamist terror which comes from endemic causes like poverty and economic privation or social injustice.

The latest issue of the ISIS English-language magazine Dabiq reveals a bit of their logic. “The Islamic State has long maintained an initiative that sees it waging jihad alongside a dawah [proselytizing campaign] that actively tends to the needs of its people.” The magazine added that the group “fights to defend the Muslims, liberate their lands, and bring an end to tawaghit [the evil corrupt system]. It also sought to legitimize its mass executions, beheadings, and other atrocities as religiously justified responses to all opponents who refuse to submit to its ideology.

President Obama claimed in his September 20 anti ISIS strategy speech that the group is “not Islamic” because it kills Muslims and innocents, something he said no religion condones. A claim disputed by most experts on Islam.

The Obama administration, under pressure from domestic Muslim advocacy organizations, has adopted a politically correct approach toward Islam and terrorism that has removed talk of Islam from current policies and programs — instead they are carrying out policies under the less-specific and DHS-approved title of “countering violent extremism.” If you can’t even call something by its name, you’re not going to have much luck defeating it in the field.

The word Islam has mostly been eliminated from policies and programs, and discussing Islam has been placed out-of-bounds — which means that Islamist ideology cannot be addressed in a significant way. This leads to claims that the U.S. and the West are at war with Islam, which leaves our officialdom tongue-tied. How they have managed to conflate cutting off the heads of American journalists and aid workers with First Amendment constitutional religious issues shown nothing so much as the triumph of either fuzzy thought or no thought at all.

The terrorists, says James Glassman, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, have constructed a phony ideology and are trying to take over a whole region. The president must address that. “It is very late in the game, and he needs to devote resources, not just words, to the war of ideas.”

The administration’s point man for propaganda is Rick Stengel, a former Time magazine reporter who is now undersecretary for public diplomacy said in a recent speech “I wold say that there is no battle of ideas with ISIL. ISIL if bereft of ideas, they’re bankrupt of ideas. It’s not an organization that is animated by ideas. It’s a criminal, savage, barbaric organization.” But, oddly, recruits are flowing to ISIS, moved to join in jihad because they are inspired by their ideas.

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Armed vehicles are mostly Toyota pickups with guns mounted in the back. Not so much on ISIS bases or fighters. I don’t know if Obama is approving each strike,  as he said he might do. But we cannot say “war of ideas” and we cannot do anything to “prohibit the free exercise of religion.” Talk about fuzzy thinking!



Too Much Politics, Too Little Strategy and Determination. by The Elephant's Child

obama-1Iraqi officials have issued a desperate plea for America to bring U.S. ground troops back to Iraq. Islamic State fighters have advanced as far as Abu Ghraib, a town that is  within eight miles of the Iraqi capital. A senior governor claimed there are up to 10,000 fighters from the movement now poised to assault the capital. The warning came from the president of the provisional council of Anbar Province, the vast desert province west of Baghdad that has largely fallen to the jihadists.

If Anbar is fully controlled by ISIS, it gives their ground forces a springboard to mount an all-out assault on Baghdad, the nation’s capital. A team of 1,500 U.S. troops are in Baghdad acting as mentors to the Iraqi army.

International attention has been focused on the Syrian border town of Kobane, where Kurdish fighters are battling to keep the ISIS fighters at bay, but Anbar is barely holding their own. A senior U.S. defence official said it’s fragile there.”They are being resupplied and the are holding their own, but it’s tough and challenging.”

Obama made bringing American troops home from the Middle East a cornerstone of his administration’s policy. Some suggest he just wants to hold ISIS back with airstrikes until after the election, at which point he’ll just let ISIS have it. With no troops on the ground to identify targets, the airstrikes are having limited effect. They are also much less than we are capable of.

Obama came to the White House with a flawed view of the world, sure that conflict was simply a matter of Republican warmongers and Republican intransigence. Problems could be solved with constructive talks. A “why can’t we all get along” view, which suffers from a failure to recognize human nature and real intent. He’s tried  all sorts of outreach and talks and offers, and promises of peace and understanding — and the world has decided that he is a weak doormat, and they had best charge ahead and take what they can while the taking is good.



If I Just Ignore the Headlines, Maybe It Will All Go Away! by The Elephant's Child

Headlines today:

This last was accompanied by a sub-head that said “Obama is backing indirect talks with Moscow aimed at cutting U.S. non-strategic nukes in Europe”. Is there a major disconnect here?

We are waging a casual sort of low-intensity war, one far below our capabilities, and seem uninterested in stopping ISIS’s advance. But we are supposed to assume that the president is thinking hard about the war against jihadists. The White House is drafting options that would allow President Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said.

It is simply impossible to discern the mindset that is guiding this president. What can he possibly be thinking? This is the president who traded five Taliban military commanders for a U.S. military deserter, and released them to the very people who support and pay for the activities of the Taliban— and apparently thought we would be delighted that we got our guy back. And promoted him to sergeant.

It is not just that he doesn’t seem to understand, or even be interested in, world affairs but he’s just disconnected. He’s operating in some other world in which the next speech, the next talks, will change the world to comply with the one in his head — because he has a gift, and he can sway multitudes with the sound of his voice. If he just ignores it, it will all go away? If he just pretends hard enough, he will awaken to find it’s all right? He thought all he had to do was make speeches? Nobody told him about the hard decisions? But who’s going to pay the price?



The President is Seriously Not Involved. A Case of “Whatever.” by The Elephant's Child

Several articles today have questioned the commitment of this administration to the war on ISIS. Jimmy Carter said that Obama has been too slow to act against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and gives his current strategy only “a possibility of success,” provided it involves some ground troops. And there have been many discussions of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’ new book in which he suggests that the fight against terrorism will be a 30-year war.

Rich Lowry called it  “A War for Show.” He said:

When you are too passive for Jimmy Carter, it’s time for some soul-searching in the Situation Room. The late-1970s are calling and want their foreign policy back.

The war against ISIL so far is desultory and occasional, a campaign of underwhelming force. ISIL has still been on the verge of taking the Syrian town of Khobani abutting the Turkish border and on the offensive in Iraq. The erstwhile JV team is defying all the military might that the world’s lone superpower is willing to muster.

I thought I should check into how that war is going from an official source, so I went to the Department of Defense website. >100 U.S. Marines are in Liberia to handle refueling and supply support for the international response to contain an Ebola outbreak in the country. >Hagel is going to a meeting in South America. >Kendall is encouraged about Defense trade progress with India. And then > Airstrikes target ISIL in Syria and Iraq. And >Troops Support Breast Cancer Awareness.

If you prowl around a little, you can find where all the attack, fighters, bombers and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes. They got two airstrikes on ISIL training facilities, two ISIL vehicles, struck two small units and damaged a tank. There’s far more information there on everything under the purview of the Department of Defense. The War on Ebola ranks higher than the War on ISIS for whatever reason. That will not change until ISIS hits us hard here at home, and Homeland Security is quite certain that no ISIS fighters have crossed the border, though others have counted significant numbers.

The President clearly does not want to be involved in Iraq in any way. His number one concern, as always, is Democratic Party politics — which trumps anything else. He has no experience with anything military other than his grandfather serving in Patton’s army, which he mentions now and then. When even Jimmy Carter is criticizing you, you have some soul-searching to do. But Jimmy Carter was a submariner if I remember correctly.

There are some photo essays with pictures of airplanes, or military activities, but the overall impression is that there’s nothing particularly serious going on. Political correctness, gender awareness, or breast cancer awareness are as important as military lives at risk, and destroying one of the trucks we left for the Iraqi army is about as big a deal as anything else.  Not serious.



Is There Anybody Actually in Charge? by The Elephant's Child

130620_james_comey2_ap_328FBI Director James Comey told Scott Pelley on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that we know who the dozen or so Americans are who are fighting with the Islamic State are, but we can’t do much more than track them if they decide to return to the United States.

They have given material assistance to terrorists by fighting for the Islamic State which is a federal crime — FBI Director Comey says American jihadis are “entitled” to come home and move about freely.

“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back,” Comey said. “So someone who’s fought with ISIL, with an American passport, who wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.”

Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) was amazed. “We can revoke a United States passport if …an individual owes arrears of child support in excess of $25,” but the State Department will not commit to revoking the passports of Americans fighting with an army devoted to our destruction.  Because..?

Investors reminds of the case of Abdirahmaan Muhumed. Before he went to Syria to fight and die for the Islamic State, he worked at Delta Global Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. There, his job was to clean aircraft, and he had a security clearance that gave him unfettered access to the tarmac and all passenger jets. Was anyone tracking him? That’s a lot of access for someone devoted to the cause of the destruction of America.

Fox News Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano says that while we can revoke their passports, their illegal activities should be quite enough to arrest them at the gate on their return to this country.

“The issue is their freedom to move around in the United States of America after they have left training for some terrorist organization, which is in and of itself a federal crime,” Napolitano told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. “That is more than enough to arrest them, charge them, indict them and keep them from traveling free around the United States, whether they have a passport or not.”

Napolitano argues that Comey knows “he can arrest them at JFK or Dulles or anywhere they land first in the United States” and that there’s more than enough evidence in these cases for the FBI to file applications for arrest warrants applications that any judge would grant immediately.

We just don’t want to get involved? We might be criticized for a stronger response? We’ll just keep track of them and stop them if they show intent to do something bad.? Well, the 9/11 hijackers came over and took flying lessons. We didn’t do too well with  the Tsarnaev brothers after Tamerlan Tsarnaev went back to the terrorist-infested Russian republic of Dagestan — to learn how to make bombs, and come back and blow up the Boston Marathon.

This administration finds it impossible to face up to any potential unpleasantness, let alone a scandal. It is to be hidden, covered up, disguised, or as a last resort blamed on someone to take the fall who will be tossed under the bus, and then move on to an important position outside the government. Is this just Chicago politics brought to our nation’s capitol?

A little late, but President Obama has appointed someone to be in charge of the nation’s Ebola problems whatever they turn out to be. The White House can shut down flights to and from Tel Aviv at the drop of a hat, but we cannot end flights from Liberia or the other countries suffering from an Ebola epidemic. But we might be checking their temperatures when they land at an American airport.

We have been told that four ISIS fighters have come across the border, or ten ISIS fighters. Homeland Security says there have been no ISIS fighters. There is no straight talk, nobody is in charge. There’s that preserve, protect and defend bit, but the Democrats want to get rid of the Constitution anyway, and “talking for dollars” is more important.



They Are Not “Undocumented People” but Illegal Aliens Who Have No Right to Be Here. by The Elephant's Child

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took issue with the term “Illegal aliens” during a Wednesday press conference. She “corrected” the reporter who used the term “illegal aliens.”

“Are you referring to undocumented people who are in the United States?” Pelosi questioned. (Can’t you just hear her? San Francisco snippy.)

The Left goes to great lengths to control the language and the words we use.  But most of us when trying to clarify meanings turn to the dictionary.

Words have meaning that is not determined by the Democratic party, but by the dictionary. In this case — Merriam Webster:

illegal, il•le•gal, adjective:  not allowed by law.
……………………………..not according to or authorized by law.

That’s pretty straightforward, and descriptive. The meaning is plain, solid fact. Do you see anything demeaning there?

alien, noun:  a person who was born in a different country and is not
………………      a citizen of the county in which he now lives. A
………………….foreign born resident who has not been naturalized
………………….and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

Also, straightforward and accurately descriptive.

Ms. Pelosi is incorrect and the reporter was right in the first place. Don’t let the Left get away with changing the language to suit their aims. Did you know that most Americans do not want illegal alien children enrolled in our schools? They want those who have crossed the border illegally returned to their nation of origin. Over 70% of American Hispanics want the illegals sent home, according to Rasmussen surveys.

This is not mean nor cruel. We have a legal immigration system through which people can gain admission to the United States, and eventually become citizens. Whenever we allow one of Ms. Pelosi’s undocumented people to stay and vanish into the general population, or offer them benefits, or education, we are telling them and people in every other country in the world that we do not enforce our borders, we won’t do anything  to remove them, so everybody is invited.  The influx will not stop until we insist that it does. There is no other way. There are no half measures. It’s that simple.




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