American Elephants


Terrorism: A Trivial Nuisance Or A Continuing Threat? by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2010, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Islam, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

And back on the National Security front, the Justice Department has announced the release from Guantanamo of a terrorist who conspired to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in the 2000 Millennium plot.  As Andy McCarthy notes:

Hassan Zumiri, who was part of an al-Qaeda affiliated terror cell in Montreal, has been repatriated to his native Algeria — a country so rife with terrorists that it was recently placed on the list of 14 countries whose travelers warrant enhanced screening at airports.  Worse, the Justice Department won’t say whether the terrorist, Hassan Zumiri, and another Gitmo detainee who was also sent to Algeria will be in custody there.  They may be free and clear.

Zemiri later plotted against the U.S. from Afghanistan, where he was captured after 9/11 by the Northern Alliance, near Tora Bora. He’d been held at Gitmo since 2003.

The other Guantanamo detainee transferred to Algeria is Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili.  Hamlili is described from his detention proceedings:

Hamlili is a particularly nasty takfiri, which means he is a hardcore ideologue who believes that not only Christians and Jews, but also most Muslims, are infidels.  In fact, Hamlili allegedly killed Osama bin Laden’s personal representative in Pakistan because Hamlili felt he had violated sharia law. Despite this incident, memos produced at Gitmo note that Hamlili worked for the Taliban, al Qaeda and a variety of other terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda has an active hub in Algeria  (“al Qaeda  in the Islamic Maghreb”).  The group was formerly known as the “Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat”, and has stepped up attacks on Westerners, including Americans.

The most transparent government in the history of the world has not released any information on what the standards for release are, nor how and who makes that decision.  At least 60 of detainees previously released have returned to the fight.

The 200 that remained at Gitmo are considered so hardened that even the Obama administration couldn’t figure out what to do with them.  They had planned to return a large number of native Yemenis to Yemen until they recently discovered that there was a very active al Qaeda branch in Yemen.

One year after Obama eliminated the CIA’s terrorist interrogation program, the administration has not put in place it’s supposed replacement the “High Value Interrogation Group (HIG).  Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that the HIG should have been called in to question Detroit underwear bomber Abdulmutallab, apparently unaware that there is as yet no HIG to call on.

This is low priority since the administration has limited techniques of interrogation to those listed in the Army Field Manual.  Police detectives and district attorneys across the country use more aggressive techniques daily than those in the Army Field Manual.  Obama, according to Marc Thiessen, has “so denuded our terrorist interrogation capability that the Detroit police department has more tools at its disposal.”

This fits right in with all the leftist commentators who have suddenly been comparing statistics on numbers killed by terrorists to the numbers of people killed on the highways or the number dying from cancer to demonstrate that terrorism is not a big deal.  The old “nothing to see here — just move along” ploy.  We try really hard to save the lives of those who have cancer and we try hard to cut the number of highway accidents.  Trying hard to eliminate terrorist attacks is apparently not worth our time.



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.



Guantanamo is Far More Complicated Than You Would Think. by The Elephant's Child

In his second day in office, Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within one year.  He had no idea what to do with the 241 inmates who are usually described as “the worst of the worst.” He is determined to close the facility because he believes that the world disapproves, and that closing it will somehow improve our image in the world.  He apparently feels that prisoners can be brought to the United States,  and prosecuted in the criminal justice system.

But as historian Arthur Herman explains in a brilliant  history of the facility:

Gitmo was never meant to be a prison where inmates were to serve sentences for crimes.  It was, in the words of a Defense Department document, a detention facility set up n order to prevent “enemy combatants from continuing the fight against the U.S. and its partners in the war on terror.”  Its goals were military and tactical, not juridicial or penal.  Still the conditions under which these unconventional prisoners were to be held did involve questions.

The Senate, alert to public opinion, and including the Democratic leadership and 99 of  its members,  refused to grant the President the $80 million he asked for to close the detention center, and stripped the requested funds from a war-spending bill.  Senate Leader Harry Reid said “Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president.  We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.”

The REAL ID Act of 2005 prohibits anyone connected to terrorist activity from entering and living in the United States.  (A bill that Obama voted for).  There are approximately 30 detainees who have been cleared for release from incarceration.  The administration is trying to find them a home.  European nations are reluctant to make any commitment unless President Obama also allows a number to live freely in the United States.

One federal district court judge has ruled that 17 Chinese Muslims be brought to Washington D.C. The judge cited no law or treaty to support his order.   The Uighurs have appealed to the Supreme Court, where it rests at present.

It is doubtful that it is legal to incarcerate detainees in the federal prison system without trial, or to put them in solitary confinement without trial in maximum security prisons.  Trials are a problem, because the prisoners  were meant to be detained, not tried.  As David Rivkin and Lee Casey point out:

Guantanamo has always been a symbol, rather than the substance, of complaints against America’s “war on terror.”  It’s the military character of the U.S. response to 9/11 that foreign and domestic critics won’t accept.

President Obama has made the naive assumption that the Bush administration did not consider  these problems when they opened the Gitmo detention center.  It was not decided on either lightly or without reservations, and there were efforts from the first to make sure that the facility was responsible and honorable.  The first ‘building’ was a trailer home for the representatives of the International Red Cross, who help inmates to write home.  Rivkin and Casey again:

Mr. Obama can still reverse his decision to close Guantanamo.  This would cost him significant political support among his base.  But making unpopular decisions to serve the national interest is a president’s duty and obligation.



Vice President Cheney Gave a Splendid Speech at AEI on Thursday. Here It Is. by The Elephant's Child
May 23, 2009, 12:23 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, National Security | Tags: , ,

With an uncooperative Congress refusing to appropriate funds to close Guantanamo, President Obama didn’t really want to make a national security speech. But he was being criticized by both Democrats and Republicans who believe that bringing the “worst of the worst” detainees from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to the United States for trial and imprisonment is a bad idea. Obama really doesn’t like criticism.

And then there is Dick Cheney — Mr. Gravitas himself.  Democrats have for years  attempted to portray him as Darth Vader, but it simply doesn’t work.  Vice President Cheney is above all a patriot, and concerned for the welfare of his country.  He has served in government in many administrations with great distinction.  He is no longer in office, he has nothing to gain from speaking publicly, no favor to seek, no elections to win or lose.  He is a private citizen with vast experience who wished the present administration success in the current troubled world.  He does not criticize President Obama, but merely explains why, in the Bush administration, they made the policy decisions that they did.  It was a splendid speech and deeply illuminating, the actions that they took carefully explained.

Well.  The usual suspects (who probably didn’t either hear or read the speech) were immediately out there foaming at the mouth, calling Mr. Cheney all the usual names.

President Obama’s speech was surprisingly defensive, and deeply dishonest.  But one wonders why Obama feels it necessary to constantly denounce his predecessor, who was extremely gracious to him, helping him to meet all the living presidents in private and ask their advice, making the transition easy and comfortable.  I guess Obama is just another far-left sufferer from BDS.  But the campaign is over.  Bush has returned to private life, and Bush is not responsible for the financial problems.  It’s time for Obama to take responsibility for his own actions, and deal with the problems that he finds on his plate, without whining, as all past presidents have had to do.

The necessity for closing Guantanamo is a mystery.  So the French don’t like it — so what? If Gitmo, a state-of-the-art facility, is reduced to rubble and all detainees incarcerated in our maximum security prison, the French still won’t commit any more troops to Afghanistan, take any more of our prisoners, or commit any more funds.  They don’t care about Guantanamo at all; it’s only the usual European demagoguery.

Attorney General Holder was in Europe recently trying to get European governments to accept some of our detainees.  He was addressing a group of journalists, professors and others, and someone in the audience asked “Why can’t you just put the innocent ones in a hotel?” As if there were innocents there.

This demonstrates the problem. Those who have some foggy idea that the Iraq War was “unnecessary”, that our policies “created” terrorists, and why did we have to mess with Saddam anyway, are so far from grasping the basic nature of the problem that it is perhaps impossible to explain.  Obama is beginning to grasp the nature of the detainees and to understand that there are some that, although vicious and dangerous, have not officially committed a crime.  They are military prisoners, detained because in an ongoing war they cannot be returned to the battlefield to kill Americans.  Of those already released, one in seven has returned to fighting with al Qaeda.

A lot of thought and study went into the construction of the facility at Gitmo. A lot of propaganda effort by those opposed to the war went into an attempt to make it appear as something evil.  So re-brand it.  Change the name.  If we can continue the war by calling it an “overseas contingency operation”, then call the detention center  the Caribbean Detainee Resort, The Reeducation College for Contingency Guests.  Suggestions are welcome.  No prizes.

Here is Vice President Cheney, plain-spoken, honest and full of gravitas:



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.



Liz Cheney takes on the “torture” controversy and Norah McDonald as well, and wins. by The Elephant's Child

Liz Cheney, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, is here interviewed on MSNBC, on the interrogation memos and the question of “torture.” Norah McDonald gives a wonderful example of media bias. She can’t quite believe that anyone would have the gall to disagree with President Obama. For an example of disagreeing with a president, see “Afterburner“, a video we posted earlier. Hilarious.



American voters think that Obama damages national security. by The Elephant's Child
April 25, 2009, 12:59 am
Filed under: National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

A new Rasmussen survey suggests that the Democrats have overreached with their obsessive interest in the waterboarding of the terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  Voters are just unimpressed with the “torture” theme.

58 percent of voters say that the Obama administration’s release of Department of Justice memos “endangers the national security of the United States.”  Less than half as many think that it “helps America’s image abroad.”

70 percent say that America’s legal system either does a good job of weighing security needs against individual rights, or that it puts too much emphasis on individual rights at the expense of national security.  Only a bare 21 percent say that the legal system is “too concerned about protecting national security.

58 percent said that the Obama administration should not investigate the Bush administration on interrogations, while only 28 percent wanted investigations.  Only 22 percent of independents wanted investigations.  Even democrats, by a tiny margin felt that the release damaged national security.  Independents by an overwhelming majority believe Obama damaged national security — 65 percent to 23 percent.

Americans in every demographic are more inclined to believe that the legal system worries way too much about individual rights rather than national security.

This may suggest that Obama’s apology tour may not have been especially well-received.

Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay is now disapproved of by a 46 to 36 margin, with declining support for Obama’s actions.




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