American Elephants


It is So Hard to Speak Clearly and Decisively! by The Elephant's Child

U.S. officials confirmed the death of Kayla Jean Mueller, a 26 year-old humanitarian aid worker from Arizona who was snatched by ISIS while working with Syrian refugees. Details of her 2013 capture and her death were not disclosed. President Obama made a firm statement today, blaming “unconscionable evil” and promised to “find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

That sounded decisive, but in another context, not so much. Mr. Obama explained, in an interview with the lefty website Vox.com that terrorism is merely one danger among many such as climate change or cybersecurity. “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

A “bunch of folks” in a kosher deli? The Charlie Hebdo assassins were far clearer about their ideological and theological and anti-Semitic reasons for attacking a kosher delicatessen. Press Secretary Josh Earnest didn’t help things with his explanation: “The adverb that the President chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.” Oh please!

Over at the State Department, Jen Psaki, press psokesman, refused to explore any motivations or blame any prejudice, saying” “there were not all victims of one background or one nationality.”¬† All of the victims were Jewish. The event is responsible for large numbers of French Jews leaving France.

Mr. Obama will soon give Congress his proposal for a new authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State fighters, but don’ put too much weight on that “find and bring to justice” bit. Obama will put strict limits on the types of ground forces that can be deployed. Always helps if you tell your enemy in advance just what you are prepared to do and what you are not allowed to do. It’s called “strategy,” but the information is only helpful to the enemy.

There would be a restriction on “enduring offensive ground operations,” but the 3,000 U.S. military personnel already there would be explicitly excluded from the restrictions. After that, the president would be able to deploy new military personnel in specific roles: advisers, special operations forces, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers to assist U.S. airstrikes and Combat Search and Rescue.


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Every time I hear Obama or someone in his administration speak, I think of a quote by Ben Jonson:

“Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.”

de la Rouchefoucald adds:

“True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary.”

Would that Obama and his flacks learn these simple lessons. Brevity is soul of something or other.

Comment by Lon Mead




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