American Elephants


Can We Have a Little Clear Thinking Here Please? by The Elephant's Child
January 5, 2010, 1:22 am
Filed under: Islam, Military, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , , , ,

Just an observation.  We are a nation at war.  It is not a bunch of separate wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and so on.  It’s not an “overseas contingency operation,”and their actions are not “man-caused disasters.”   To claim that the war in Afghanistan is a “good war” and the war in Iraq was a “bad war” shows a lack of understanding of either effort.

We call it the War on Terror.  Terror is their chosen weapon.  We have no trouble referring to the air war or the submarine war. Prissy complaints about language are out-of-place.

They want to kill Americans because we will not submit to Islam.



Here’s a Really Heartwarming Story. by The Elephant's Child
May 9, 2009, 12:03 am
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Enough gloom and doom. Let’s have a little pride and heroism and gratitude.  A lot of hope and prayers, and a lot of hard work.  Our very best to the Brennan family.

(h/t: Gateway Pundit)



Once Again the Far Left is Hoist on their Own Petard! by The Elephant's Child

The headline in The New York Times reads : “US May Revive Military Courts at Guantanamo.”  Back before the inauguration of Barack Obama, President Bush held a meeting with former presidents and Barack Obama so that he could ask them anything he wanted and they could offer advice if it was solicited.  One offhand piece of advice suggested that President Obama look into the reasons behind the actions of the Bush administration before he made up his mind.  That bit of advice was apparently rejected.

Mark Steyn laughed, in The Corner at NRO, that “Any Day now, the new conventional wisdom will emerge: Obama has turned around Bush’s failed war on terror because he’s had the courage to do the tough things that, while not always attractive, are ruthlessly effective.”

Jules Crittenden snorted more loudly, and goes into a little more detailHot Air points out that the leak came on a Friday night, where awkward announcements and bad news sneaks out.  The Left, grasping for anything to discredit the Bush administration has tried mightily to discredit the War on Terror in general, and the Iraq War in particular. They tried to discredit the 9/11 attacks, downplay the idea of terrorism — only poor misunderstood souls, acting out their anger at being discriminated against — and in general, insinuate that there really was no terrorism, just something that the Bush administration had dreamed up to help get elected.

The prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, an ideal location for housing terrorist combatants, became a symbol of the White House’s intransigence in insisting that detainees did not qualify for the protections of the Geneva Conventions. The political left made Gitmo a symbol of the Bush White House’s alleged hostility to human and constitutional rights.

After years of demands from the left that Guantanamo be closed, Obama signed an executive order in his first week requiring the facility to be closed down within a year.  Never mind that visitors have continuously said that it is a model prison.  Never mind that the Obama administration has not the slightest idea what to do with prisoners who are ready to kill at the slightest opportunity.

They have cleared 17 Uighurs — Chinese Moslem radicals trained by al Qaeda— for release in the United States, and another 13 detainees, bringing the total up to 30. Well, not to worry, we will pay for welfare for them so they can more easily adapt to American life.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been in Europe asking European leaders for help in relocating Guantanamo detainees. Holder spoke before a select group of policy experts, academics and journalists (European leaders?) in a crowded room of about 100.

In answer to a question about Bush administration officials “decisions to authorize tough interrogation techniques”, Holder said he believed that many of them would, privately, admit to having made some mistakes in the pressure and worry that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I don’t suspect that would be true of Vice President Dick Cheney,” Holder added.

At another point, a questioner earnestly asked if those Guantanamo detainees who are believed to be innocent could be put in a hotel somewhere.

“Those detainees who are believed to be innocent.” Made me snort a little more loudly too.  This is not an easy problem, as the Obama administration is beginning to discover. It was after much searching and study that the facility at Gitmo was built in the first place.

Actions have consequences.  When you gin up a story about innocent terrorists and all the torture going on at Guantanamo for political advantage, sooner or later you have to face the solid block wall of reality.  A hotel with hot halal meals, white glove treatment of prisoners, Mecca pointed out so detainees can pray in the way prescribed by their religion and Islamic reading materials, will be expensive to build and where to put it? Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked Congress for $50 million to build a facility.  Who wants such a prison just down the road?

As Investors Business Daily said:

The Pentagon will have to build a facility for the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay if their current housing is closed.  We know the perfect spot: a military prison in Cuba on a naval base called Gitmo.



Thinking about scary things, and about thinking. by The Elephant's Child
February 16, 2009, 10:16 pm
Filed under: History, Military, Movies, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

People approach events differently.  Some lean into a crisis, want to know all about it.  Others dissemble.  If it is scary, they don’t want any part of it.

For example, take war movies.  Some people don’t want to see anything that contains violence.  Others want to know as much as they can about an event, even as it is not very accurately portrayed in a movie where there is no real blood or real bullets.

Supposedly it is women who don’t want to see, hear, or think about violence.  I don’t know if that is true, though I know it to be true for many of my friends.  I assume that is where the “chick flick” vs. “war movie” division between men and women came about. But then I’ve heard “eeuw, gross!”  from plenty of guys as well.

That goes for other worrisome things as well, such as economic crisis, natural disasters and politics.

I have always been of the former kind.  I read military history, read everything I can find about the current economic crisis and the stimulus bill, am afraid of neither spiders or snakes, and am decidedly female.  Are little girls taught by their mothers to jump on a chair and say “eek!” at spiders or mice?  My mother was much like I am, though I don’t know about the war movie part.  Perhaps I am just more my father’s daughter.

My bookshelves are a testament to those interests. The Rape of Nanking, Survival in Auschwitz, The Battle Cry of Freedom, Saratoga, A Soldier’s Tale, House to House, With the Old Breed, or Black Hawk Down, for example.  Probably my all-time favorite books have been Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series of 20 books on the Royal Navy in the 1700s.  I have read them over and over, as have many historians, and recommend them to anyone who likes to read.  But the 18th century in the Royal Navy was decidedly bloody.

I have always known from the pictures of refugees streaming from the cities and bombs of World War II, that that could be me.  That the unexpected could happen. Yet I suspect most people don’t think like that.

I also believe that many people simply do not want to know about the Stimulus Bill, what it contains, or what it portends for the country.  I have been shocked at members of Congress and their aides who did not read the bill that they voted for.

There are columns by college professors concerned because their students don’t read, and suggestions that television, the internet and new media like Facebook, Twitter and Kindle are changing Americans’ relationship with words and understanding.

How about you?  Do you fear or enjoy violence?  Snakes and spiders?  Are these things related?  Do you want to know everything you can about a problem or would you prefer not to know if you feel that you can’t do anything about it?  War movies, chick flicks?  What is learned and what is innate?  And does thinking or reading about frightening things or big crises prepare you a little better for actual things that happen?



They said they would, but no they won’t…. by The Elephant's Child

The War in Georgia

Russia agreed to pull out of South Ossetia, a cease-fire in the Georgian War, but, of course, they are doing no such thing. They are digging in a little deeper. In Poti, a port on the Black Sea, the Russians have sunk all Georgian naval and patrol vessels, and have been systematically destroying port facilities. They are far outside the borders of South Ossetia. The cease-fire deal calls for both Russian and Georgian forces to pull back to positions they held before fighting erupted on August 8.

The media seems to have accepted Russian propaganda, as usual.

The War in the House of Representatives

First she says she will and then she won’t. She will consider opening “portions”, but probably include little remedies that fit all her lies. Opening the Strategic Reserve, creating green jobs, curbs on non-existent speculation, all the loony leftist ideas. We need to increase the pressure on the Speaker of the House. She has created the worst record of any speaker in my lifetime, and with an approval rating of 9%, it can’t get much lower.

Do you suppose that Speaker Pelosi’s big investment in Boone Pickens’ big wind energy play “Clean Energy Fuels Corporation has anything to do with her insistence on subsidies for wind energy?



What is victory in Iraq? by The Elephant's Child

From the President’s strategy for victory in Iraq:

VICTORY IN IRAQ DEFINED

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come come in the form of an enemy’s surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event — there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

In the short term:

An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.

In the medium term:

An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, nd well on its way to achieving its economic potential.

In the longer term:

An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.
An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.
An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.

Not mentioned in the President’s strategy — Kuwait, invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, is opening an embassy in Iraq. Or, if you are not impressed by that:

Kentucky Fried Chicken has opened in Falluja.

So there!



Arrogance you can believe in… by The Elephant's Child

Obama’s world tour is becoming a little embarrassing. The candidate— not yet the nominee — is doing his commander-in-chief imitation, and loftily informing everyone how things will change as soon as he is anointed elected. Since he knows so little about the Middle East, one would think that he would approach generals, prime-ministers and commanders with a degree of humility, but that is not to be.

Foreign Policy 101: It is better to listen to experts than to expert to the experts.

The Democrat position on the War in Iraq evolved, not immediately after they voted for it, but after the successful invasion. It started to look like President Bush might have a winning war on his hands. A successful George W. Bush could not to be allowed. There was an election coming in 2004, and defeating Bush was far more important than what was best for our military or our country.

Democrats have been loud in their insistence that the “war” was only properly in Afghanistan and only properly in search of Osama bin Laden. Gone was any consideration of the Long War against Islamic Terrorism. Right down the memory hole. Historian Arthur Herman has a wonderful article reminding us all of the real facts on the ground.

Something Obama has apparently never done is to study a map of the Middle East. Looking closely at the centrality of Iraq and the states that border Iraq is important, and informative.

In the clip above, Obama, fully into his commander-in-chief mode, is making pronouncements that he, as a very junior senator, has no business making. He manages to claim “his job as commander-in-chief”, sneer at President Bush who “says” he is deferring to the commanders on the ground, and pretends to have better judgment than all of the above. And because he has better judgment, he deserves all the credit, or something like that.

Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson! Danger Will Robinson!

Obama’s sole claim to “good judgment” and the very basis of his candidacy is his original opposition to the war as a junior back bencher in the Illinois state legislature. Without any access to the facts that the President, his Cabinet and the Congress had, Obama signed on with the anti-war left and the netroots.

The facts about his judgment seem to indicate otherwise. He doesn’t change his mind as he alters his position. He remains absolutely correct.

And that is the real problem.



Not exactly a foreign policy you can believe in… by The Elephant's Child

There’s a perennially popular genre of literature which might be called “Kids Say the Darnedest Things”. Small children, in all innocence, give charming answers to questions because they know so little.

Another version is based on the answers that college students write on exam questions. These are more often hilarious in their utter stupidity. The entire genre is based on the fact that we, as educated adults, know the subject well, and they, groping for an answer to a question on which they are poorly informed, make silly mistakes. It is usually enough to remind any adult that a simple “I don’t know” is a wise answer.

There are degrees of knowing about any subject ranging from superficial to mastery, and those who reach true mastery recognize that there is always more to learn. But as the old saying goes: “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

Which brings me to Barack Obama’s op-ed in the New York Times.

The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

Must have seemed like a gift when some news reports claimed that Maliki had called for a timetable for removal of American troops. Obama’s insistence on removing troops was becoming increasingly untenable. He’d just removed all his previous statements on the surge from his website, assuming that voters were unfamiliar with Google.

Unfortunately, that’s not what Maliki said.

The BBC reports that in an audio recording of his speech he did not use the word “withdrawal”. Elections are coming, and Maliki’s speech was directed to that audience. Some Iraqis are anxious for us to leave: Some are fearful that we will not be patient enough with them to allow them enough time to learn how to be a democracy. A US official close to the talks with the Iraqi government said “the troops will leave when the Iraqis are ready to take over. …It is politics — how you package it, how you sell it to your people. They want our support, but they also want to show that there’s progress towards sovereignty.” Obama goes on:

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office.I would give the military a new mission; ending this war.

Sigh. If Obama had been paying attention and keeping informed, he would be aware of the recommended force reductions and mission shift broadcast by General Petraeus during his testimony to Congress in September of 2007. And he might be aware that all of the important benchmarks have been met.

In San Diego, Obama argued that “just because Sen. John McCain had made multiple visits to Iraq, that does not mean that he has the correct perspective on the region”. Well, at least McCain is well informed.

Obama also remarked earlier that he knew more about foreign policy than Senator McCain or George W. Bush because he had lived in Indonesia (from age 6 to age 10).

Obama is still trying to validate his big moment when he opposed the Iraq War while he was still in the Illinois legislature, which endears him to the anti-war crowd. He didn’t understand the reasons for going into Iraq. He didn’t understand the reasons for the surge. He doesn’t grasp the nature of Islamic jihad. And he has apparently never studied a map of the region. Along with announcing how many brigades he’s going to move around, he’s now attempting to push the tired old Democrat spin that the real war is only in Afghanistan in pursuit of bin Laden.

I find this endlessly fascinating. How do the Democrats do it? Do they all get together in a meeting and someone says — “I know, let’s say that the war isn’t in Iraq, that we’re really supposed to be chasing Osama in Afghanistan. I’ll bet we can get away with that.” Or perhaps they get a memo from MoveOn.org with the talking points, which they circulate, because they all say the same thing in the same words. Do they have rehearsals?

And how do they all manage to forget the same things at the same time?

Obama is going to great lengths to appear “presidential”. There are the sets designed to look like a presidential press conference, the array of flags in photographs, and of course, his “presidential seal” (quickly disposed of when it evoked more humor than awe). There’s the decision to deliver his acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver rather than at the convention site. Obama says he wants to give the common folk more “access” to the process. Uh huh. Visions of Leni Riefenstahl.  Do you think there will be torches?

And then a demand to give a speech at the Brandenburg Gate like Presidents Kennedy and Reagan (he might wait until he’s actually a president, and it is usual for those things to be arranged quietly behind the scenes). German officials were not too keen on allowing their historic spot to be used as a prop for a candidate. It puts the German government in the awkward position of appearing to favor one candidate.

Obama’s now backed off on that, but seems unaware of the foreign policy gaffes he is making, or the problems he is creating. The rewriting of NAFTA created big problems with Mexico and Canada, opposing a free trade agreement with Columbia, invading Pakistan, the embarrassing Jerusalem gaffe all presented foreign policy problems that had to be soothed. And his pronouncements on getting out of Iraq aren’t going down too well in Europe.

On his upcoming trip abroad, he is making it clear that he isn’t going to Iraq or Afghanistan to learn, but to enhance his image. It’s (as usual) all about him. With a crew of star liberal TV anchors along to interview him at significant sites (looking presidential) he expects to raise his foreign policy qualifications. Oh, so that’s how it’s done.

Let me be clear. People may differ on the war. People may be opposed to the war, but if they are going to make pronouncements about the war, then they need to know what they are talking about. For Obama, this is a problem, and it is a problem for America. He does say the darnedest things, but it’s not funny.



They all hate us, right? by The Elephant's Child

D-Day Reenactment

How many times have you heard that everyone in the world hates America (and it’s all Bush’s fault)?  Well, Africans love George Bush. They welcomed him like a rock star. Canada now has a conservative government, as does France, as does Italy, as does Germany. And the Brits are not too fond of Gordon Brown at the present. They love us in Eastern Europe. The Aussies now have a more liberal government, but they still like us. The Iranians like us –it’s only the government of the mullahs that doesn’t. We’re fine with Taiwan, Korea and Japan. India’s a friend. And then there is this odd little story from American Thinker. “The D-Day story the MSM didn’t tell again”

By the thousands, they come. Like ghosts. Dressed in full, authentic World War II battle gear. Standing in small groups on the street corners of St. Mere Eglise, Carentan and the other towns and villages near the coast where the British, Canadians and Americans came ashore in ’44.

They carry M-1s, BARs, Thompsons and holstered .45s. All perfect replicas. Their uniforms display the patches of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. The 29th and 4th Infantry Divisions. Canteens and ammo pouches and med-pacs on their web gear. They wear their hair short. Some have their faces blackened. Several even have Mohawks.

They drive along the coast in long caravans of military vehicles. Willys jeeps by the hundreds, scores of 2½ ton trucks, armored cars, potable water trucks, mobile AA batteries, even a couple of grinding Sherman tanks. They bivouac in olive drab green tent cities. Big and small. Field kitchens smoking. They invade the Normandy area, everywhere.

This is a terrific story that I never heard before.  Do read the whole thing.

A French boy watches a parachute drop by 450 men from the first battalion parachute regiment during a Normandy reenactment. His t-shirt reads,



The Perilous Fight by American Elephant

For over 230 years, far better men than I have risked everything fighting for our independence, fighting to keep us together, putting themselves between America and the evils of the world. They are doing so now.

To a man they knew the dangers. To a man they went anyway.

Today we honor those who have fallen to keep us safe and free. We are forever in their debt.

We must always remember what they’ve done for us. Too many take it for granted. Still others really have no idea. That makes it even more important that the rest of us remember and honor them.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Of all the Memorial Day tributes I found, this was my favorite, but it is one that I can’t embed on our page, so I hope you’ll click the link and watch it. These were also very moving tributes…

Thank you to all who serve. God bless and keep those who gave all.



ABC News Shocker: 5 out of 150,000 Troops Endorse Democrats by American Elephant

US Troops in Iraq

Taking a page directly from Barack Obama’s campaign playbook, ABC “News” traveled to Iraq and was able to find five soldiers who endorse Democrat candidates for president — three for Obama and two for Hillary — which they attempted in a piece called, “Surprising Political Endorsements By U.S. Troops,” to portray as the general consensus among America’s fighting men and women.

Riiiiiight! John McCain leads both Democrats in national polls, but the military, which has a long history of being much more conservative than the general public, and which backed Bush by approximately 73% to 18% over Kerry in 2004, is suddenly gangbusters for the candidates that want to surrender Iraq to terrorists and Iranian-backed militias. Forgive me if I don’t buy it.

One of the first rules of journalism is that anecdotes prove nothing. One of the first rules of propaganda is to use anecdotes to portray what the facts don’t.

No wonder an overwhelming 58% majority of Americans don’t trust journalists to tell them the truth and only a paltry 38% do! A reputation well earned!



Democrats Attempt to Censor Petraeus by American Elephant

General David Petraeus

There are no “General Betray-Us” ads this time around, I guess we should be glad Democrats aren’t stupid enough to pull that bone-headed move again. But don’t worry, they’re still plenty stupid…

With General Petraeus set to testify before congress again, the Democrats talking points are exactly the same as last time — “General Petraeus is a puppet for the White House, things are going horribly in Iraq, and he damn well better not try to tell Americans any different!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Thursday not to “put a shine on recent events” in Iraq when they testify before Congress next week.

“I hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra,” said Pelosi, referring to a recent military offensive against Shiite militants in the city led by the Iraqi government and supported by U.S. forces. [read more]

The implication that General Petraeus would even consider presenting anything but a fair and honest assessment of conditions on the ground is just as disgraceful and inexcusable now as it was the last time Democrats smeared him.

The fact is the only reason the Democrats need to warn Petraeus in the first place is because the surge has been so successful. Violence continues to drop, the Iraqi parliament has passed a whole slew of some of the most contentious benchmarks, and now the Iraqi government has again proven Democrats wrong, by leading the fight against the very same Shiite militias Democrats complained just a short time ago they were unable and unwilling to fight.

The Weekly Standard puts the lie to the Democrats latest spin.




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