American Elephants

The Real Hard Questions About Syrian Refugees by The Elephant's Child


The question about Syrian refugees — is not a question of just how much empathy we have, nor is it about whether or not they are actually Syrian and actually refugees. President Obama insists it is all about compassion, and we are a nation of refugees, and rejecting widows and 3 year-old orphans is just not who we are as Americans.

At a moment in history when Paris has just been attacked by jihadists, and the example of supposed Syrian refugees are flooding Europe with the most dire results, we need to think very clearly about just who we are inviting in as refugees. There is, in spite of pious pronouncements from the State Department and Homeland Security, no way for us to screen those who seek admission. There is no effective government in Syria, and Syrian Americans say that one can buy any kind of credential they want or need in Syria if they can  pay for it.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, writes that it is morally wrong to relocate refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. Welcoming refugees is not about making us feel good. The five year cost of resettling a single Middle Eastern refugee in the United States is conservatively estimated to be more than $64,000, compared with UN figures that indicate it costs about $5,300 to provide for that same refugee for five years in his native region.

In other words, each refugee we bring to the U.S. means that eleven others are not being helped with that amount of money. Mr. Krikorian uses the analogy of sending a luxurious one-man boat rather than twelve life jackets. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  reports a $2.5 billion shortfall in caring for Syrian refugees in the Middle East. The five-year cost of resettling just 39,000 Syrians in the U.S. would erase the entire current UNHCR shortfall.

Europe has cut a deal with Turkey regarding refugees. Turkey will shelter more Middle Eastern refugees within its own borders so fewer of the will head for other European countries. Turkey, in return for tightening its border control, will get several billion dollars from the EU, and assistance in Turkey’s efforts to join the coalition of 28 countries. President Obama  wants to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year and every year thereafter. He says a “robust vetting process” will be in place. The State Department and Homeland Security obediently agree.

When questions about refugees from the Middle East arise, the word “Islamophobia”also arises. If you worry or object to a 10,000 yearly influx of refugees in perpetuity, you are Islamophobic and a bad person. Americans (excluding the college faculty) feel pretty strongly about free speech, even if college kids don’t understand. The kids are currently up in arms about words that might give offense. If they were properly taught, they would understand that a government that can put you in the gulag, or execute you for something you said—means that you are no longer free. You have no freedom at all. You are totally subject to the will of a bureaucrat who does not have your best interests at heart.

A little history should teach that is the rule in North Korea, was the rule in Stalin’s Russia, and in China, and in dozens of other socialist countries. In the Moslem religion, words that can be construed as insulting or denigrating the prophet get the death penalty. American college campuses have become a hotbed of politically correct speech. Kids have been driven out of school, their future ruined because someone took offense at something they said that  someone else considered politically incorrect. Here in America we have the First Amendment to the Constitution that protects your right to free speech. The amendment is always under attack from those who are ignorant of its meaning and those who have a wish to become tyrants and rule.

And there’s the rub. Sharia is classical Islam’s societal framework and legal code. “It involves the organization of the state, comprehensive regulation of economic and social life, rules of military engagement, and the imposition of a draconian criminal code.” This is from Andy McCarthy.  “Unlike the Judeo-Christian principles that informed America’s founding, classical sharia does not abide a separation of spiritual from civic and political life. Therefore, to rationalize on religious-liberty grounds our conscious avoidance of Islamist ideology is to miss its thoroughgoing anti-constitutionalism.”

“Sharia rejects the touchstone of American democracy: the belief that the people have a right to govern themselves and chart their own destiny. In sharia governance, the people are subjects not citizens, and they are powerless to question, much less to change, Allah’s law. Sharia systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is brutal in its treatment of apostates and homosexuals. It denies freedom of conscience, free expression property rights, economic liberty, and due process of law. It licenses wars of aggression against infidels for the purpose of establishing sharia as the law of the land.”

“Sharia is also heavily favored by Muslims in majority-Muslim countries. Polling consistently tells us that upwards of two-thirds of Muslims in the countries from which we are accepting refugees believe sharia should be the governing system.” Islam stands for submission. You must submit.

To the extent to which we are screening refugees, we are screening for terrorism, not adherence to sharia. We are not only vetting for the wrong thing, “we are ignoring the dynamics of jihadism.” The question is really “are we admitting Muslims who are apt to become violent jihadists after they settle here? (See Boston Marathon)

This is not meant to be alarming, but to approach the matter honestly. If people are worried, this is why. These are serious questions, and the administration is not interested in giving serious answers,  but in slandering those who dare to ask, because they want their way. Muslims are said to be reliable Democratic voters.

For Further Reading:

“Refugee Resettlement Is Immoral,”Mark Krikorian, National Review

“The Controversy over Syrian Refugees Misses the Question We Should Be Asking” Andy McCarthy, National Review

“Je suis…qui?”Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review: A visit to the Banlieues and Muslim immigrants in France.

The photo at the top is from Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine, of Syrian Refugees leaving for Europe.




Obama Summed Up His Foreign Own Policy in Just 60 Words by The Elephant's Child

barack-obama_1Ted Cruz pointed out last week that Obama made a stunning indictment of his own policies in a news conference in Turkey. Have you noticed that Mr. Obama has a habit of criticizing his own country when he is abroad? Unpleasant characteristic. Here’s what Obama said:

What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning,’ or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and protect our allies and people like France.

That’s apparently what he actually believes, and a remarkably clear description of his foreign policy. No wonder he’s made such a mess of it.

Obama Remains Committed to a Failed Strategy In A War He Has No Plans to Win. by The Elephant's Child

obamacareThere has been a notable kerfuffle in the media after the ISIS attack in Paris. Why are we getting nowhere in our response to ISIS? Why is Obama claiming that ISIS is contained, when it is so obviously clear that they are expanding into other countries? Why when France asked for our help in striking back at ISIS, did he just brush them off? Why did John Kerry make perhaps the worst flub ever committed by a Secretary of State after the Paris attack when he spoke  to families and staff at the embassy in Paris, effectively saying that Charlie Hebdo kind of asked for it you know. We have supposedly been “containing” ISIS for months yet accomplishing nothing.

Last week, Byron York reported that a military strike near Abu Kamal, in Syria, destroyed 116 fuel trucks out of nearly 300 massed on the ground. Not the first time we have hit the Islamic State oil trucks, but the first time we have hit so many, according to a coalition spokesman.  So there are 300 sitting there, and we could only destroy 116? Apparently the answer is that Obama has been worried about civilian casualties. What if a civilian was driving one of those trucks or standing nearby? General Jack Keane, a retired army four star general, said that Obama’s rules of engagement have hobbled our military to an unprecedented extent.

Such worries are entirely consistent with the entire U.S. war against the Islamic State. “Our air campaign, since it began, has been the most restrictive in terms of rules of engagement that we have ever entered into in the last 25 years,” said Jack Keane, a retired Army four-star general who now chairs the Institute for the Study of War. “This has been largely due to the White House’s insistence that there be zero civilian casualties, at the behest of the president of the United States.”

In Abu Kamal, U.S. planes dropped leaflets before the attack, warning people — Islamic State, non-Islamic State, whoever — to leave before the assault began. After waiting for an hour, the U.S. planes struck.

U.S pilots confirm that the Obama administration blocks 75 percent of Islamic State strikes. “We can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target on front of us.” Pentagon officials said the military is furiously working to prevent civilian casualties.

The New York Post pointed out that ‘the Obama administration just realized days ago that ISIS is one of the richest organizations in the world — with assets totaling billions.’ Its assets include 1) up to $1 billion seized from Iraqi banks. 2) Some $200 million a year from stolen Iraqi wheat.3) Hundreds of millions extorted from captive populations. 4) tens of millions from selling sex slaves and looted antiquities as well as ransoming foreign hostages. They cover the payroll with just half their oil revenue, so even if their oil business is decimated, they can keep going for years.

Speaking from the White House today, Press Secretary Josh Earnest attempted to reassure reporters that President Obama is taking the threat from ISIS seriously and is gathering as much intelligence on the terrorist army as he can. This comes in the wake of veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s report that her sources tell her that President Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on Islamic groups he does not consider to be terrorists, despite their being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists. That’s probably anyone connected with his Iran Deal. From The Weekly Standard

Speaking to reporters at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Obama said that, while the Paris attacks might have been a “setback” for his ISIS strategy, they would not change it. When reporters expressed surprise at his continued embrace of an approach that was failing, he lashed out at them for daring to question him. At a time when an American president might have been expected to show some righteous anger at the attackers and those who enabled them, Obama instead directed his fury towards critics at home who worry about jihadist violence against the homeland. It was a shameful spectacle, and a revealing one.

Barack Obama remains committed to a failed strategy against an enemy he has long underestimated in a war he has no plans to win. Nothing has changed. And this time, what’s past truly is prologue.

For Further Reading:

“The Long War Continues:” Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, The Weekly Standard.

“The Islamic War:” Victor Davis Hanson, National Review.

“The Poverty of American Strategy:” Kenneth Allard, Real Clear Defense.

“Obama and the ‘ISIS Recruitment Tool’ Canard:” Andrew McCarthy, PJ Media.

“Obama’s ISIS Paralysis:” Richard A. Epstein, The Hoover Institution.


“Contained,” But Under Obama’s Watch ISIS Has Grown by 4,400 Percent. by The Elephant's Child

lk_1The raging debate about Syrian refugees is full of lies and misrepresentations, and totally confusing.  Syria is a battleground with some of the worst characters imaginable. Bashar Assad is using barrel bombs and poison gas on his own citizens, ISIS is committing some of the worst crimes against humanity ever known, and destroying the archaeological remnants of the ancient world as well.

Strangely, to western eyes, those atrocities — beheading, crucifying, burning people in cages — are all designed to attract adherents. President Obama has claimed that ISIS is “controlled,” yet under Obama’s watch ISIS has grown by around 4,400 percent. CIA Director John Brennan admitted that the Islamic State terror group has grown by that much during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office. During former president George W. Bush’s term in office ISIS was “decimated” and had around “700 or so adherents left.” The CIA has found the organization currently has somewhere from 20,000 to 31,500 fighters operating across the Middle East.

The Islamic State “was, you know, pretty much decimated when US forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al Qaeda in Syria, and set up its own organization,” Brennan said.

So much for ISIS being “contained.”

How “Syrian refugees” are presented to the public governs public opinion. A huddled Muslim woman with her arms around two small children, backed with other women and children creates a far different impression than a long column of young men of military age. The heartbreaking photo of the drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish beach had a photographer there to arrange the body and smooth back the hair. The toddler was from Lebanon, not Syria, and almost nothing about the whole story was true except that the child drowned.

“Refugee” is a word that has a specific meaning, and the nation’s laws describe how one gets classified as a refugee — the president does not get to decide who is a refugee — Congress does, and there is a religious test. A “refugee” is escaping persecution or threatened harm especially because of his religious beliefs. And yes, the Christians  in the Middle East do meet that test. We have welcomed some groups of refugees, from Cuba, from Vietnam. Many immigrants seek to make a new life in America leaving their country of origin, but that does not make them “refugees.” I’m really tired of Obama telling us who we are; and what is and is not American. We do not make hard decisions based on compassion and empathy — but on hard nosed facts.

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that…religion was or will be at least one central reason for processing the applicant.

How much of a risk should we take to allow into the country a host of people among whom a few terrorists or many terrorists may be hiding. The notion that we can “vet” them is clearly nonsense. There is no government in Syria to which we can apply for true information about who these people are. ISIS is increasingly using female suicide bombers. One just blew herself up in Paris. There are reports of ISIS fighters shaving their beards and disguising themselves as women in Europe. The fact that we have welcomed immigrants in the past has nothing whatsoever to do with the current situation. That’s a cheap appeal to emotion, and meant as a conversation stopper. It is not a simple question.

In welcoming immigrants, we have welcomed those who want to come to America, who want to become Americans, and who want to learn our history and our customs and our language. President Obama is attempting to eliminate, by executive order, portions of the oath of citizenship that require the immigrant to serve in the military if required. European countries have never figured out how to turn the immigrants they have accepted into real citizens.

We have been processing Syrian refugees for years. A leader of New York City’s Syrian community said that ISIS terrorists ave “absolutely” sneaked into America by posing as refugees from the civil war in Syria. He said he believes terrorists have been coning not only in the past few years, but way before that, said Arafat “Ralph” Succar. He added I think they’re already at work. He said the corruption in his homeland is so rampant that anyone could pay bribes and get official identification papers with a fake name to disguise their real identity.

And as Obama is being outraged over the governors and presidential contenders who want to pause the inflow of Syrian refugees. From Manila he tweeted

Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.

But back in 2011, at Obama’s behest, the administration stopped processing Iraqi refugee requests for six months after two Iraqi refugees were arrested on terrorism charges in Bowling Green Kentucky. The State Department stopped processing refugee requests in order to review and revamp security screening procedures. This included Iraqis who had worked with American troops as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed because of the immigration delays. Only half as many Iraqis were resettled as refugees as the number from the previous year.
There’s really not much compassion, but a singular concern for how things would look to — who exactly? Whose opinion is he so concerned about? He has surrounded himself with a small group of sycophants, and regards anyone who is critical as the enemy.

You probably noticed all the women and widows and 3 year old orphans in the picture above.


ADDENDUM: That  female ISIS suicide bomber who blew herself up turned out not to be female. DNA tests on the remnants of the body established that she was a man.

Hits and Misses in the ‘War’ on the Islamic State by The Elephant's Child

It was only days ago that we had word that “Jihadi John,”  the British citizen Mohammed Emwazi, who became known for beheading  Western  hostages for ISIS— was reported hit in Raqqa by an attack from an American drone. U.S. counter terrorism officials said he was killed with a ‘flawless’ drone missile strike the moment he stepped into a car. Pentagon officials are 99 percent sure that he was killed.

He was “evaporated” near a clock tower where ISIS staged public executions. Britain’s Daily Mail had an extensive article on the “World’s most wanted man.” The drone strike took off from Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey, and was piloted from Creech Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

The Daily Mail piece also included an aerial photograph of the site of the drone strike. But it also contains evidence of the problem many have complained of, the White House’s tight control over targeting that is making the administration’s claims of conducting effective air control over ISIS so absurd.


So we know the exact site of ISIS main headquarters, the Islamic Court, but declined to target those because…? Obama seems happy to go after anyone with a drone attack, I suppose because he can assume that the missile that got the target didn’t get anyone who was near, or if they were near they were probably bad guys too? One would assume that targeting ISIS main headquarters might set back their terrorist activities a little.

The British Prime Minister welcomed reports of the killing which he called an ‘act of self defence’.

He stopped short of confirming that Emwazi – who he branded a ‘barbaric murderer’ – was dead but said the targeted attack was ‘the right thing to do’.

There is a high possibility British spies were operating on the ground in Raqqa to help identify Emwazi before the strike and may now be trying to collect DNA evidence to prove his death.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Emwazi’s role in ISIS propaganda videos used to radicalize people meant he was a ‘target worth going after’.

We need a public excuse?

It’s Not About “Strategic Patience” Mr. President. It’s About Keeping America Safe. by The Elephant's Child

nn_03_pwi_fbiISIS_141008Just 10 hours before the Paris attacks, President Obama went on ABC to say that we “have contained” ISIS. As ordinary fact, it wasn’t true, and asked that we should pretend that it was, when Isis has just brought down an airliner two weeks ago, and then there was Paris.

“We’ve gone through these episodes ourselves,” he said on Friday afternoon, explaining how the “heartbreaking” events were resonating with Americans. “Episode?” We had 9/11, and the Boston Marathon, we’ve had lone shooters, but we haven’t had “episodes” when a soccer stadium was bombed, a concert venue occupied and shot up, and three gathering places shot up — simultaneously.

Only a year ago, the president had promised to destroy ISIS. But that was then and this is now.

Now. Obama said in a press conference that “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France,” Obama said. “I’m too busy for that.”
CT8_l5rUkAAYHaq.png large

February 6, 2015, President Obama’s National Security Strategy as outlined by National Security Advisor Susan Rice: “Strong and Sustainable American Leadership. Just what has been completely absent.

The President seemed far more interested in fighting with Republicans than with Islamic terrorists. ISIS arose when Obama prematurely pulled the troops out of Iraq, failed to get an agreement on a sustaining force, and has been so consumed with his dreadful Iran Deal, that he has antagonized our other partners in the region like Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Iran, of course, is not interested in his “deal,” they are interested in building nuclear weapons to attack Israel and the United States, and everybody seems to know that but the President and John Kerry. Obama has signed the Deal. Iran has not. Their Parliament has issued 9 ‘conditions’. They will stall around until they get their money, then they will back out entirely, citing unmet conditions, or some other excuse.

Obama has said that he believes that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon. Why, nobody knows.  ISIS has said that they already have many of their fighters in the United States. There have been reports of ISIS training camps just a few miles south of the border in Mexico. The Border Patrol has reported a number of times, finding prayer rugs left just south of the border.

We know that ISIS smuggled terrorists into Paris with the hordes of ‘refugees’ who are only partly Syrian, but from Afghanstan, Somalia, and states all around the Mediterannean and from Africa, even Russia. Obama was offended at over 20 governors’ statements that they would not accept Syrian refugees — calling it un-American.

Mr. Obama was especially harsh on those, like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, who say Christian refugees should be a priority. “When some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

… Christians are under particular threat from Islamic State. If they aren’t killed for jihadist sport, they must convert to Islam or die. Their daughters are raped and forced into Muslim marriages. Their churches are blown up. The U.S. would have been right to accept and save more Jews from Nazi genocide in the 1930s and 1940s. Syrian Christians are no different today.

General Jack Keane, at the Wall Street Journal today, said that Obama’s frame of reference is always the large brigade forces of 150,000 troops or more — but nobody is suggesting that. Mr. Obama speaks of “strategic patience” and suggests that this will be a multi-year challenge. But it is not. We have been there for 15 months, and accomplished nothing, really. We need more advisers, a much better air campaign, and Obama must stop the severe restrictions on target selection. ISIS has the same territory, but they have included 9 other countries.

Obama managed to kill twice as many American troops in Afghanistan as were killed under Bush — with too-tight control over the rules of engagement. He is doing the same thing in Iraq with rules of engagement and tight control of target selection.

As the President has said, he is not interested in pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning.  Michael Ledeen responded — “so he wants us to lose?”

Further reading:

  • “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood, The Atlantic
  • “The jihadis’ master plan to break us” by Amir Taheri, The New York Post
  • “A Lesson in Hate” by David Von Drehle, Smithsonian
  • “Obama’s ‘patience” merely gave ISIS time to grow” Ralph Peters, New York Post


There Are Some Problems With Obama’s Legacy by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturingPresident Obama remarked the other day that if he were able to run for another term he was sure he would be re-elected. I imagine that he is confident because his policies are succeeding so well that everyone would look forward to a continuation. I’m not really so sure. Some of us are onto him.

The U.S. confirms Iran launched a “missile inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.” It’s only one example of President Obama’s nuclear deal unleashing the world’s foremost terrorist regime.

In announcing that Iran violated a United Nations Security Council resolution with its Oct. 10 launch of a ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power promised that the U.S. would prepare a report and swiftly raise the issue with the Security Council.

“The Security Council prohibition on Iran’s ballistic missile activities, as well as the arms embargo, remain in place,” Power said.

We did mention that the Ayatollah was fairly clear that he had no intention of hewing to the strictures of Obama’s Iran Deal.

ObamaCare enrollment will flatline this next year, The sixth health insurance co-op has gone belly-up. Train-wreck is a common description. In other words, enrollment will be about half what the CBO predicted. Enrollment will have declined from where it was in March. Rate increases have been skyrocketing and some have been as much as 50 percent. The fine for not buying government-approved insurance will go up to $695 per person or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greatest. Democrats thought the nonprofits would put downward pressure on premiums and arranged for billions ($761,947,628) in guaranteed loans to get them up and running. Obama says the program is working better than anyone expected.

Victor Davis Hanson notes that Barack Obama’s mistakes in the Middle East are so comprehensive they almost look deliberate.

How did Vladimir Putin — with his country reeling from falling oil prices, possessing only a second-rate military, in demographic free-fall, and suffering from an array of international sanctions — find himself the new play-maker of the Middle East?
Putin’s ascendancy was not foreordained. It followed a series of major U.S. miscalculations and blunders of such magnitude that it almost seems they must have been deliberate.
Dr. Hansen lists six major mistakes: 1) The reset with Putin. 2)The Skedaddle from Iraq; 3) The Red-Line Invitation into the Middle East. 4) The Iran Deal.  5) Estrangement from Our Friends. 6) Neglect of Oil.  Do read the Whole Thing. The likely consequences of the President’s mistakes will be really bad, and left for the next president to deal with.
The Left has plotted to impoverish America’s Middle Class and enrich Left-Wing billionaires. The environmental movement is the most corrupt in America.

Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, a 501 (c) (3) watchdog group, released an investigative report, Private Interests & Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda (and an appendix of source documents), revealing a vast, coordinated, three-track effort by public officials and private interests to promote EPA’s expansive, overreaching and economically devastating greenhouse gas rules, specifically the section 111(d) regulation to shut the nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as well as the December Paris climate treaty President Obama is expected to sign to replace the Kyoto Protocol. …

In what is possibly the most intriguing element, seemingly out of an episode of “House of Cards,” Democratic governors’ aides repeatedly reference a plan of “creative engagement” to “compel” certain electric utilities — those subject to their jurisdiction whose businesses cross lines into states led by Republicans — to bring “red state” governors around to support the EPA rules: “[B]ecause there are key utilities whose service territories cross red and blue states Governors in these states could quietly engineer a breakthrough strategy that compels utilities in key red states to lead the charge to win over a key Governor, rather than rely on a standard NGO-shaming strategy that might not deliver.”…

“[W]hat is clear is that 1%-ers are using ‘climate’ policies to destroy politically disfavored industries in order to transfer wealth to the politically preferred,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal Executive Director. “The campaign by self-serving individuals must be made known to the public as policymakers consider this plan that will destroy parts of our economy and ruin the most efficient, affordable, and clean energy system ever created.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,498 other followers

%d bloggers like this: