American Elephants


He Had No Foreign Policy Experience But Promised Miracles by The Elephant's Child

Kim Jong Un, the young new dynastic dictator now filling his father’s and grandfather’s shoes declared that “Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to pre-emptive nuclear attack”  upon the “aggressor” America. And had just set off its most advanced-ever underground nuclear test to get our attention..

In 2007, in a widely read article in Foreign Affairs, Barack Obama said “Throughout the Middle East, we must harness American power to reinvigorate American diplomacy” which “could bring success even when dealing with long-standing adversaries such as Iran and Syria.”He further promised that he would “develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.” How? Through “sustained, direct, and aggressive diplomacy — the kind that the Bush administration has been unable and unwilling to use.”

That’s working out well. It’s like an upside-down world where the movie is running backwards, starting with a Nobel Peace Prize, and then we slowly get less and less safe, and the world gets more and more troubled.

We are apparently moving towards helping the rebels in Syria, and John Kerry has officially changed his mind about Assad. But the question is do we know which rebels are associated with al Qaeda and which are not?

We approved deposing Mubarak in Egypt, and now we have a Muslim Brotherhood radical in charge, and we’re sending him F-16s and monetary aid, for unfathomable reasons, while the dissidents in Egypt can’t get any help. The  Arab Spring  did not lead to a blooming of peace., but a blooming of continuing rebellions.  The “sustained, direct, and aggressive diplomacy” went well. Hillary set records for mileage flown, but the foreign policy miracles that were promised never materialized. America is perceived as weak, and despots are encouraged.

We are undeniably less safe than we were, and if the movie is still running backwards, we’re in trouble.



Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Has Pleaded Not Guilty in Federal Court. by The Elephant's Child

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The Turks first arrested Sulaiman Abu Ghaith weeks ago. The Turks passed him on to Jordan where he was captured. As a high-ranking al Qaeda figure and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, it shows that the war on terror is still on, and we are still on offense. Well, sorta. The good news is that he is in U.S. custody, and it is bad news for his fellow jihadists.

The problem is that the Obama administration views terrorism as a law-and-order matter, and Abu Ghaith will be tried in a criminal court in Manhattan, where he, according to the rights of a detainee in a New York court, has lawyered-up and pleaded “not guilty” on Friday to one count of conspiracy to kill Americans.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago in a discussion of Chuck Hagel’s nomination:

Mark Bowden’s new book The Finish about the bin-Laden raid  discloses President Obama’s desire to capture bin Laden rather than kill him so that he could be tried in court. He quotes the president as saying he thought he would be in a strong political position to argue in favor of giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant if bin Laden went on trial for masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr,” Obama is quoted saying in an interview with Bowden.

Obama believed that affording terrorists “the full rights of criminal defendants would showcase America’s commitment to justice for even the worst of the worst,”

Obama’s warped view of Islamic terrorism; his idea that the Israeli conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah is the cause of Middle East troubles; his idea that Egypt is a potential friend and sending 20 F-16s to them is a bright idea, is beyond troubling.

Abu Ghaith doesn’t belong in a federal courthouse. He belongs at Guantanamo, where he can be thoroughly interrogated. The number one priority should be actionable intelligence. The Obama administration has long attempted to bring the terrorists at the detention center at Gitmo to be tried in American federal courts, and justifiably met strong objections from Congress.

The “War on Terror” has been very hard for the left to understand. They understood going into Afghanistan in search of bin Laden right after 9/11. That was clear, get the bad guy responsible.They didn’t understand Iraq, the horrors of Saddam Husein’s rule, and when we didn’t find nuclear weapons instantly, they went berserk. WMD — weapons of mass destruction, to many minds meant only nukes.

The first pictures of prisoners being transported to Guantanamo in orange jumpsuits and hoods told them instantly that the detainees were being tortured. Wars are only supposed to last for 4 years, no more. They are supposed to be with a country, not a word. They never got the distinction between a soldier and a terrorist — an insurgent refusing to follow the rules of war —and why it matters.

We’ll see how it works out. What are the sentencing guidelines  for” conspiracy to kill Americans? As Jason Riley said in the Wall Street Journal:

Of course, President Obama won’t send people to Guantanamo anymore. He’ll blow you to pieces with a drone but says interrogating you at Gitmo is a human rights violation. Figure that one out.



The Mystery of Seventeen-Hundred MRAPs by The Elephant's Child

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Robert Farago clears up the mystery of Homeland Security’s purchase of  ‘new’ MRAPs, heavily armed fighting vehicles. This is from Ross Feinstein, an official spokesman at Homeland Security. The MRAPs have been transferred to DHS from the Department of Defense, free of charge, and they’re not new, but have been in service since at least 2008.

DHS has 16 MRAPs nationwide, and the vehicle is used in the execution of high-risk warrants — including drug trafficking, smuggling, and contraband.

Sixteen is a lot less than 1700. There are mentions of many police departments all excited over their new MRAP. The Small Wars Journal says that MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle):

is a broad term encompassing three main vehicle categories with 28 specific types of vehicle. The vehicle family was procured and acquired in mass as a result of growing improvised explosive device (IED) threat encountered in Iraq in 2004. Though there is no doubt that the MRAP family of vehicles has saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives since it was first fielded and placed into operation in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the MRAP should not be incorporated into the US Army operational structure for a number of reasons. It offers protection against a specific threat type and does not lend well to the higher intensity realm of full spectrum operations. …

The MRAP is a capable vehicle for personnel protection in an environment saturated with IEDs like Iraq or Afghanistan. Incorporating MRAPs into the brigade combat team structure is an unreasonable and unrealistic proposition that will pigeonhole brigades into security assistance missions and not equip them to fight and win our nation’s wars on the full spectrum battlefield.

The report  is written in military bureaucratese and avoids saying anything directly, but it sounds like another military boondoggle. The vehicle protects from IEDs but not from other weapons. The v-shaped bottom armor makes it top-heavy and it’s subject to rollovers. It’s hard to get in and out of quickly, and compared to other military vehicles serves only the purpose of protecting from a specific kind of threat. The military bought a bunch of them and wants to get rid of them.

Police departments love them. They don’t need them, but it makes them feel all strong and macho. The gap between the 16 owned by DHS and the 1700 widely reported to be purchased may be that the rest are going to various police departments either free or at very low cost, effectively covering up the essentially useless mistake they turned out to be for the military. I’m guessing here, but old articles suggest that the Military was required to purchase large numbers when our troops were being killed and wounded by IEDs.

I don’t know where the 1700 number came from, but though it has been repeated by everyone, it may not be factual. This is just what I find in a bit of Googling around. Overcriminalization is becoming a serious problems, and the use of SWAT teams with military style weapons and armor by government agencies is out of control. Deroy Murdock points out that in the Second Amendment battle, there is a serious problem with over-weaponized government agencies. Militarizing our police forces is not a good idea, and should be resisted.




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