American Elephants

The New York Times’ “Corrections” by The Elephant's Child

Well, well. All that huffing and puffing, the firestorm about Bibi Netanyahu not informing the White House before he accepted Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress? The New York Times even used the word “unprecedented.” Bibi had not only “disrespected” the current occupant of the White House, whose aides had called Prime Minister Netanyahu a “chickenshit” and disrespected the institution of the Presidency itself. Ignoring Protocol, they claimed.

It was one of the New York Times’ infamous “corrections.”Attached on January 30 to a story that ran the previous day about Benjamin Netanyahu’s  difficult relations with the Democratic Party. Here is the correction in its entirety: “An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.”

Every other news source picked up the article about the “disrespect” on the basis of the Times report. As the Tablet reported:

The decent thing to do would’ve been to write another piece altogether, contemplate why the paper of record got suckered so badly by the White House—which gained plenty from the manufactured story—and amend any and all implications of Bibi’s perfidy and bad manners that arose from the original report.

But that’s the state of the news business today. Times’ corrections provide a continuing source of amusement. NBC is trying desperately to decide if they can possibly rescue Brian Williams from his perfidy, and the “mainstream media” wonders why subscriptions are declining.

The Middle East Has Declared War on ISIS, and Obama Won’t Help. by The Elephant's Child


The United Arab Emirates is sending a squadron of F-16 fighter jets to Jordan to strike against ISIS alongside the Jordanian air force. They had suspended flights as part of the US Coalition conducting air strikes in view of concerns about search and rescue capabilities after the Jordanian pilot was downed.

Major Mariam al-Mansouri, a female pilot with the UAE air force, played the starring role in a publicity stunt last month when she was photographed in the cockpit of the F-16 fighter she had flown in the first wave of US-led attacks on targets of the Islamic State in Syria (Isis).

Thumbs up and beaming for the camera, it was a striking image that combined empowered Muslim women, the Arab fightback against jihadi extremism – and the pride of the small but wealthy Gulf state that is flaunting a new-found assertiveness and promoting its political agenda in a region in profound turmoil.

A House Armed Services Committee member revealed that the Obama administration had turned down a request from Jordan for Predator spy drones that would help locate targets against ISIS. The request was for the Predator’s unarmed export version. Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter asking the president to approve the transfer. “The decision to deny the license request should be reversed immediately” Mr. Hunter wrote. “Doing so will provide Jordan critical mission capability in the fight against the Islamic State and ensure Jordan is given every advantage.” The U.S has turned down aid and weapons for Ukraine in its battles against Russian-backed separatists. which Ukraine has been requesting for months.

The video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot has not gone over well in the Middle East. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Jordan’s King Abdallah, and  has vowed to help Jordan get the armaments it needs. Of course the Jordanians and the UAE are Sunni, and Iran is Shia, and Obama doesn’t want to offend Iran.

If Jordan and the UAE succeed in really damaging ISIS with their strikes on Raqqa, expect President Obama to take credit. After all, he just took credit, only a few days after banning oil drilling in Bristol Bay in Alaska, and pushing to ban oil drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Reserve, for the drop in the price of gas. He has decided that cheap gas prices were another of his great successes.

ADDENDUM: Foreign Policy is reporting that Jordan did not request Predator unarmed spy drones,  but rather that the manufacturer was denied an export license to Jordan. Armed Services congressmen have questioned the decision. Jordan has requested other equipment which has not been forthcoming. The Kurds are not being well supplied either. Obama talks big about his “coalition” but is a little short on the follow-through.

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