American Elephants

Some Are True Believers, Some Are Skeptics, Nobody Is “A Denier.” by The Elephant's Child


Here’s a new video from the White House, (sorry, I can’t embed it.) President Obama’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren explains—in less than three minutes — how climate change is making America’s wildfires more dangerous and why we must act now.

President Obama is deeply in awe of Dr. Holdren. He said breathlessly the other day that when he had a question about anything about science, he could just call up Dr. Holdren and he would explain it. “And he’s a real Physicist,” Obama said.

From the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho: “Outside of the West Coast, there is very little forest fire activity in the U.S. this year. Burn acreage is much less than half of normal.”screenhunter_1655-aug-04-06-59

(click to enlarge)

Forest fires are caused by lightening strikes, or occasionally by careless campers. They are not caused by global warming.

A Remarkably Tentative Approach to Genocide. by The Elephant's Child



ISIS, or The Islamic State, seems to be a criminal gang that emerged out of the bloody civil war in Syria. They have been called an ‘offshoot’ of al Qaeda. President Obama contemptuously called them “the junior varsity”— which is treating them far too lightly. They seem to be a gang of thugs drawn together by blood lust and the freedom to kill everybody in sight in the name of Allah. Heady stuff.

Weapons bristling, they have roared at high speed across northern Iraq, executing those who oppose them in piles of corpses. Their fervor and mass executions have left much of the Iraqi army collapsing and leaving their weapons behind, which the thugs are delighted to appropriate. The videos politely blur the pictures of the piles of the dead, the beheaded, and the crucified as too much for delicate Western eyes to behold. They are beheading little children, sticking the heads on fenceposts. Barbarians, imagining they are part of Mohammed’s army out of the year 630. Young boys are enlisted — what fun to be given an AK-47 when you are only nine years-old and get to shoot people, all in the name of Allah.

Thrilled with all of the military equipment they have captured, they haul howitzers behind their trucks and giant missiles that they may or may not know what to do with. But we’ve seen videos of them doing wheelies with U.S. made Abrams tanks.

They are Sunni, at least sort of, and any Shiia encountered are promptly executed, as are Kurds, Christians and Yezedi, which is a religion predating Mohammed. The women are sold as sex slaves to the lusty young fighters, or killed. All in the name of the new Islamic Caliphate.

Mr. Obama recites some of these depredations in a queerly apologetic fashion in a video filmed in the state dining room with no audience but the ubiquitous teleprompters; and his head moves from side to side as if he were addressing a vast audience. He is trapped. He has created his own legend that he was elected because of his opposition to the War in Iraq, which he called the Dumb War, his opposition to the hated Bush; and he is justified because he got us out of Iraq

Many of us believe that the only reason that ISIS exists is because Obama got us out far too abruptly with no status of forces agreement that would have allowed us to continue training the Iraqi army, who weren’t prepared for such an onslaught. President Bush was reluctant to set a status of forces agreement in the last days of his presidency that would bind his successor. Mr. Bush had a video conference with Prime Minister Maliki every week, and called him often to maintain the relationship. Obama just wanted out, and made no attempt to smooth the way.

Obama’s speech is odd. He over-explains why we must act, and over-explains why our actions must be limited — echoed again in Press Secretary Earnest’s careful insistence that we will not put any “boots on the ground.” He’s been quite comfortable with ordering assassinations by drone strikes, but acting in defense of the Kurds who have been our allies, or saving the Yezedis  who are facing genocide, is a step too far.

I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these.  I understand that.  I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done.  As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.

I don’t think we have ever had a president who has reminded us so frequently that he is the ‘Commander in Chief,’ as if he needed reminding himself. “Reconciliation among Iraqi communities?” That’s the same failure to grasp the nature of the situation that he exhibited with Israel, almost ordering Prime Minister Netanyahu to accept a cease fire, completely missing the simple fact that as long as Hamas demands the elimination of the Israeli State and the death of all Jews, a cease fire isn’t going to be all that effective. The video is here.

I think events are challenging Obama’s closely held worldview, and he is, in some way,  unable to cope with that.

Memo for Press Secretary Josh Earnest: by The Elephant's Child

Warfighting 101: You don’t tell your enemy what you are going to do before you do it, nor what you are not going to do. You might explain that to your boss. It works better if they remain unsure of just what you might do.

When you announce that you will be leaving on September 1, they will just wait until September 2nd — when you’re gone.

Once you tell them that you are going to attack at 2:00 pm, they can just disappear until 3:00. Seems a little elementary, but strategy is usually based on surprising the other guy.

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