American Elephants


When You Reward Bad Behavior, You’re Going to Get More Bad Behavior by The Elephant's Child

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A deal that freed five Americans from Iranian jails at a cost of $1.7 billion in U.S. funds comes with a claim in Tehran that the transaction was a ransom payment. The U.S. Treasury Department wired the money to Iran  about the same time that the radical theocracy in Iran allowed three American prisoners to leave Tehran on a Swiss air force plane. The prisoner swap also meant freedom for two other Americans held in Iran, and the U.S. freed seven Iranians who had been charged or convicted of crimes in this country.

The $1.7 billion financial settlement concluded a 35-year legal battle that concerned a purchase of U.S. arms by Iran’s last monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi that were never delivered because of the Iranian revolution in 1979 when the Shah was deposed.

The White House claimed that the settlement was good for American taxpayers because the  U.S. was likely to lose in the arbitration at The Hague, and could have been liable for billions more if the case had dragged on.

The release of hostages came at the same time as the implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran that lifted the international economic sanctions in exchange for Iran ending its nuclear program. They supposedly filled the heavy-water reactor core with concrete, but if the IAEA inspectors actually got to inspect the concrete, I haven’t seen any confirmation. Earlier, there was some talk that inspectors would not be admitted to any Iranian facilities, and they’d just have to take Iran’s word for it. The Wall Street Journal reported:

A senior Iranian military official has publicly stated that the clearing of the $1.7 billion was a key factor in Tehran’s decision to release the imprisoned Americans, most of whom were charged with espionage.

“Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies and doesn’t have to do with the [nuclear] talks,” said Gen. Mohammad Reza-Naghdi, commander of Iran’s powerful Basij militia, in state media on Wednesday. “The way to take our rights back from the arrogants [Americans] is to become powerful, and we must grow stronger and stronger every day.”

Jason Rezaian’s release got the most attention because he was a Washing Post journalist. The others were Marine veteran Amir Hekmati who had just about given up after four years in prison and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini. The fourth was Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari. A recently detained student. Matthew Trevithick was separately released. It’s high time we had them all home.

The most important part of the deal was Iran’s claim that the money returned was a ransom — which implies that Iran’s bad behavior, falsely accusing American citizens of Iranian background of espionage, and imprisoning them gets a big ransom from the “arrogants”. When you reward bad behavior you get more of it. President Obama does not seem to understand much about strategy, ransoms, or rewarding bad behavior, which he has been doing a lot of.

Obama’s release of terrorists from Guantanamo, which is part of his unfortunate obsession with closing the detention facility, plays into this deal. Mr. Obama seems to believe that terrorists use Gitmo as a recruiting tool. This was once true some years ago, but no longer is.  And Mr. Obama seems to value “world opinion” which he misconstrues, as favoring his end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an Americas retreat to isolationism as a positive agenda.

Expect all of the released terrorists  to return to the war against America and Americans, as so many of those previously released already have. The nations to which we turn them over don’t do a very good job of keeping track of them. These remaining detainees are considered the “worst of the worst,” committed to killing Americans. It is against the law to bring them to this country, but Obama is looking for a way around that.



Tom Cotton “Mr. Obama, Here’s why closing Guantanamo is a big mistake” by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s Senator Tom Cotton, who has had the unpleasant task of actually fighting jihadists. He has also gone to Guantanamo to find out for himself what the prison is like.

In his final State of the Union speech President Obama promised to “Keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo.” He said “it’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.”

MEMRI, the Middle East Research Institute, keeps track of the propaganda coming from al Qaeda, ISIS, and all the affiliates throughout the Middle East, and although Gitmo was used once as a recruiting tool, it didn’t work and they dropped that effort. Sending committed fighters back to the battlefield is not a joke. These are not prisoners of war, but terrorists who do ot obey the laws of war, and who are not entitled to prisoner of war status.  Tom Cotton wrote:

Early last year, I visited Guantanamo Bay and witnessed prisoner operations. I saw firsthand that it is not the barebones prison camp President Obama purports it to be. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the picture he’s painted for the public.

Guantanamo Bay can be and has been visited repeatedly by the International Red Cross and other human-rights groups for observation in an open, regular, and transparent manner. Detainees receive the same medical care as the guard force and are able to participate in their daily prayer sessions.

Guantanamo Bay is also a critical tool in our counterterrorism efforts. It is secure from attack and allows us to concentrate trained experts in interrogation in one place, to extract intelligence of paramount importance in uncovering and stopping plots against Americans.

Information obtained from detainees at Guantanamo has been described by the CIA as “the lead information” that enabled the agency to recognize the importance of a courier for Usama bin Laden, a crucial understanding that lead to Bin Laden’s secret hideout in Pakistan and the U.S. raid that killed him. It is this kind of information that we are losing by not making greater use of Guantanamo.

It is hard to deal effectively with terrorists when those who decide how they will be detained have no understanding of why they are terrorists, what they want, and why they are committed to killing Westerners.

I believe President Obama’s Iran Deal is a ghastly mistake, and we will pay a heavy cost for his ideological errors.

Do read the whole thing.



Strange Times, Strange War, Strange Announcements by The Elephant's Child

Headline: The Washington Post: “Elite U.S. targeting force has arrived in Iraq to fight the Islamic State”

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – An elite U.S. Special Operations targeting force has arrived in Iraq and will carry out operations against the Islamic State, part of a broader effort in 2016 to strike at the militants and that also includes U.S. Special Operations troops in Syria, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Wednesday.

The targeting force is now in place and is prepared to work with Iraqis to begin going after militant fighters and commanders, “killing or capturing them wherever we find them,” Carter said, speaking to about 200 soldiers at the home of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, which is expected to deploy about 500 soldiers next month to Iraq and Kuwait as part of the campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

Is it standard military procedure now to announce everything we are doing or going to do in advance? Or is this Obama, stung by the response to his State of the Union everything is dandy speech trying to show that he’s not either a weak doormat, and does too send needed troops, but can’t manage to do anything without bragging about it first? Seems odd. But then Obama has had a habit of always telling the enemy what we’re going to do, then tacking on restrictive rules of engagement to make sure nobody gets hurt so that he cannot be blamed. But what do I know, I’m just a civilian worrier.

The training the U.S. soldiers will provide to both the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces will prove critical, with the peshmerga approaching Mosul from the north and Iraqi troops coming from the south in a “pincer movement,” Carter predicted. Some analysts, however, say that communications between regular Iraqi forces and the Kurds need to improve significantly before any kind of joint operation can be undertaken.



The Alternate Reality of The Obama Administration by The Elephant's Child

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Perhaps no post-World War II president (and maybe none before) has justified his executive overreach by openly contending he was working around the lawmaking branch of government because it had refused to do what he desired. Whether a court finds his actions constitutional or not, it’s an argument that stands, at the very least, against the spirit of American governance. Today many liberals call this leadership.”
…………………………………….     —David Harsanyi at Reason

President Obama’s final ‘State of the Union’ speech is coming up on Tuesday. He has reportedly sent members of his cabinet out about the country to create enthusiasm. Tidbits are being released off and on to tantalize. There will be an empty chair in Michelle’s box to symbolize all the missing victims of mass shootings. According to Gallup, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has a 58 percent favorability rating, while only 35 percent hold an unfavorable opinion. Obama’s approval rate, also from Gallup, is only 47 percent, but it ticked up a little while he was on vacation. Congress has acted on gun control, just not in the way Obama wanted. The Senate rejected legislation in 2013 to expand background checks for gun purchases and to ban certain weapons and ammunition.

Perhaps the most destructive legacy of the Obama administration may be the idea that if Congress fails to act the President must do something himself. Obama has never quite understood the separation of powers nor the fact that Congress more fully represents all of the people that he, as president, does. Our democracy, run solely by the president, is deeply approved by the Left — until there is a Republican president.

Obama has had his team working on the State of the Union speech for two months. He wants no legislative agenda to set himself up for failure in front of a GOP Congress. He wants to talk once again about “Who we are as Americans,” something he has never managed to figure out and which he inserts interminably into every speech.

Mr. Obama has a marvelous ability to see in his history only that which he finds positive. He adds up the numbers of jobs created each month, without considering how many are part-time or second jobs, how many jobs were lost, and completely neglects the 94,446,000 Americans of working age who have given up looking for work. He does not understand that in flooding the job market with foreign competition he has done great damage to the hopes of American workers. Now he plans to award work permits to 100,000 foreigners to work here to compete with Americans for jobs. How is it that he can add all that up and see a positive result for the people?

He sees the non-binding agreement in Paris on Climate Change as a great accomplishment, but it will accomplish nothing, nothing at all. It will not reduce global temperatures more than 1.2º C. or 2.2º F— roughly the difference between 10:00 a.m. and noon on an ordinary spring day. The Iran Deal that he has worked so hard to accomplish, while giving in to Iran on every point, assures that we will be attacked with nuclear weapons here at home. It is the most unbelievable betrayal of American security in history.

Michael Grunwald, a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine, has written a long slobbering paean to the wonderfulness and success and accomplishments of the Obama administration over the past 7 years. If you can bear it, do read the whole thing. It is hard to believe that one man, completely unprepared for the presidency, could make such a mess of things, or that one reporter could possibly have such a rosy view of catastrophe.

Well, America the bad. A reactionary force standing in the way of the noble leftist aspiration. Social Justice. Income inequality. Black Lives Matter.

Here’s a remarkable example. In Philadelphia, a convert to Islam, appeared in Muslim garb, Proclaimed he was doing the shooting of a policeman in the name of Allah. said he had pledged  his allegiance the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). During a press conference Friday afternoon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that he believes the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer has “nothing to do with being a Muslim,” despite the suspect saying that he did it in the name of Islam.  So you get headlines like this: “Police probe man’s claim of shooting cop in Islam’s name.”

The pressure to deny reality must be really extreme. Goes right along with Obama calling the shooting at Fort Hood “workplace violence.” They are living in an alternate reality.

Matthew Continetti summed it up a bit in a piece called “The Lamest Duck:”

We have entered a most dangerous period of the Obama presidency. It’s not just that every rogue actor from Kim and Putin and Castro to Maduro and Khamenei and Xi knows he has one last year to behave badly without fear of reprisal. It’s that the president and his team are isolated, aloof, detached from reality.

They think a climate deal is a rebuke to terrorism. They think the response to jihad in San Bernardino is to ‘close the gun-show loophole.’ They think a new communications strategy will convince the public that the war against ISIS is going well. I don’t question Obama’s sincerity. I question his sanity.

What actually results from a given policy seems no longer to matter to him. Take guns—he’d sure like to. His executive order does little more than reiterate current law. It wouldn’t have stopped the killing at Sandy Hook elementary or in San Bernardino. Indeed, the most important consequence of Obama’s fight with the NRA has been record gun sales and a windfall for gun manufacturer shareholders. At least when Hillary Clinton takes on an industry, its stock goes down. Obama can’t even get that right.

From an essay at Commentary by Abe Greenwald:

But Obama has not been blindsided; he has chosen policies that have emboldened ISIS and has rejected other options at every turn. In fact, his words in Turkey were patently false. Obama doesn’t need an introduction to those who would have done things differently; he knows them well. They include two of his secretaries of defense, his former under secretary of defense, his former secretary of state, his former head of the CIA, his former Army chief of staff, the last commanding general of forces in Iraq, his former ambassador to Syria, his former deputy national-security adviser, and, yes, even his former joint chiefs chairman—among others.

The Nation He Built,” by Michael Grunewald

Hating the West, Inc.” by Victor Davis Hanson

Iran’s Ballistic Missiles Are Actually a Huge Problem,” by Emily Landau, Shimon Stein

On His Watch,” by Abe Greenwald



Sexual Assault, Rape, Islam, And Nothing To See Here, Just Move Along. by The Elephant's Child

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The reactions in Europe to the coordinated sexual assaults and rapes on hundreds of women in Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Berlin and a few other German towns, in Salzburg, and in Finland — deserves our close attention. The media covered it up. The police and town officials made excuses, or simply tried to ignore it. The Cologne police chief got fired, but the mayor has not yet resigned as she should. The cathedral square in Cologne, filled with nightclubs, bars and coffee shops is where locals have seen in the New Year for hundreds of years.

Britain’s Daily Mail reported:

The men, speaking Arabic and seemingly either drunk or high on drugs, moved around in large groups among a gathering of around 1,000 male migrants and deliberately targeted women. The men easily outnumbered the 190 police officers on duty, who were quickly overwhelmed.

In Cologne, 120 women reported assault, 50 women in Hamburg complained to police, in Berlin a tourist was assaulted by 5 men right in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Just a coincidence? Let’s not be totally gullible. The common thread is that the attackers were Mediterranean men of Arabic appearance and an immigrant background.

In Britain, Quadrant magazine reported in October, of Muslim sex gangs described by authorities as “Asian” in Banbury, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bristol, Burnley, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derby, Leeds, London, Manchester, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Preston, Rochdale, Rotherham. Sheffield and Telford. The victims are under-age English girls, and the gangs are Muslim and traffickers. The press and broadcasters go out of their way to avoid any connection between the acts and the central practices of the religion of the malefactors, or even to name that religion. Referring to them as “Asian” is insulting, for Sikh and Hindu Punjabis in Britain do not commit rapes or assault children, but Muslim Punjabis do. The attacks are characteristic only of Muslims.

The Press and police and social workers have mostly been unwilling to to investigate, take action, or disturb ‘community harmony.’ The only common characteristic is the Muslim religion throughout Britain, Australia, Germany, and Scandinavia. In the Muslim communities, the victims did not matter because they were not Muslims.

The real problem is that Muslims believe in their own superiority and supremacy over others. They hate Israel and India because these are lands that they believe are —theirs by right of conquest. Over a millennium ago conquering Muslim armies detached Palestine along with the rest of the Middle East from the Christian world. Likewise the Muslims invaded India, subjugated the Hindus and forcibly converted many of them. Now the Jews have returned to their ancestral land and the Hindus are masters of their own country and “impudent” enough to want to reclaim their own history. According to Muslim doctrine no country that was once under Muslim rule can ever finally escape from it. What is happening in Britain is that the Muslims are fighting out their foreign conflicts on our territory against our Hindus and our Jews, two groups who have made an unparalleled contribution to the prosperity and intellectual life of our society. We have an overriding duty to defend them.

People in public office have a deep resistance to being accused of Islamophobia, or racism or any other offense against the reigning political correctness in our current society. They might be called unpleasant names, lose their jobs, be demoted, have a black mark against their names — or lose an election. How did we get here? I don’t think ordinary Americans care at all about being politically correct, yet our schools and our governments at all levels are obsessed. Is it the finger-pointing of the press?  As far as that goes, why does the press seem to have less and less understanding of events in the world?  Just asking.

ADDENDUM: Breitbart reports that a peaceful protest in Cologne by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) today turned violent as German police turned water cannon against the demonstrators. 143 police officers had been turned out to stop the migrant rape of the previous night, 1500 officers were turned out to stop the anti-rape protest. Elsewhere, protesters were accused by some officials as “racists.” Protecting the establishment by accusing those who protest establishment inaction of being at fault— in other words blaming the victims.

 



Who Me Worry? Well, Yes, Yes I Do. by The Elephant's Child

We have been told for some time that in less than 50 years Europe will be Muslim. Simple demographics. The European birthrate is far below replacement numbers, except for Muslim families. But that is what we were told before the current wave of refugees/migrants.

And the Muslim immigrants are apparently aware of the demographic claims. They have said, and it has been reported, that they will impregnate Europeans to hasten the transition. What happens when Muslims outnumber the Europeans and control the factories and facilities of European nations, including their military assets? We are in a religious war. We may not recognize that fact, but Iran and ISIS readily admit it.

Do we then have another great European War? We turned back the invasion of Europe once before at the Gates of Vienna. Is it all inevitable or are we just being Islamophobic? President Obama appears to believe that if we just turn the Middle East over to Iran to manage, then all will be well and we can just mind our own business. And that “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” business is just some kind of local PR. Iran would never, ever, use a bomb.

That ‘s when I get worried. I’m not convinced that anyone is thinking clearly about what is happening in the world today, particularly in this administration. Pat Condell is a clear-thinking and clear speaking British gentleman, and it pays to listen to what he has to say.

(h/t: Thomas Lifson )



Strategy? What Strategy? by The Elephant's Child

The Obama family has headed to Hawaii for their Christmas vacation. The president  stopped off in San Bernardino to meet with the families of victims after a lot of murmurs in the press about why he seemed reluctant to do so. Someone said something about his remarks before he left, so I went to the White House website to see.
……………………………………….…………………..

What I ran into was a major posting  titled : ISIL STRATEGY: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat ISIL and Combat the Terrorist Threat. (headed with a picture of an empty presidential podium.)

WHO WE’RE FIGHTING • WHAT WE’RE DOING • MORE TO DO

Here’s a look at the evolution of ISIL and the terrorist threat.
Our nation has been at war with terrorists since al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. We answered that tragic attack by hardening our defenses and critical infrastructure, disrupting countless plots and pursuing terrorist networks overseas, disrupting safe haven in different countries, and decimating al Qaeda’s leadership, including the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. …

(Is that the weirdest recitation of our history since 9/11 — ever?)

Here is a link to the whole document. I urge you to read the whole thing (won’t take long) because it is simply bizarre.  And truly frightening. Under the subhead Here are some of the actions we’ve taken:

Since the November 13 attacks in Paris a number of Coalition partners including Belgium, Germany, Kuwait Tunisia, made arrests to break up ISIL and ISIL-inspired terrorist cells.

Notes of small attacks,plans, announcements, plans, deployments, even airstrikes by the coalition, destroyed 283 ISIL oil tanker trucks, 120 ISIL oil storage tanks and “a significant amount of oil field infrastructure” in Eastern Syria.

More plans, announcements, plans. France deployed an aircraft carrier to the eastern Med., humanitarian efforts, humanitarian support. A reinvigorated political track in Syria with a “path towards a Syrian-led political transition process.”

Frequent big colored background boxes announcing the desperate need to make sure that no one on a NO Fly List is able to buy a gun or buy powerful assault weapons. (aside: The New York Times said today that the “powerful assault weapon” was nonsense). Video at the bottom, of Obama saying once again the “Our fight to defeat ISIS is not a war with Islam.”

All sorts of people who are not dangerous end up on the NO FLY LIST. it is clearly useless. Michael Medved’s 11 year old son was on the list, Nobody knew why and it was hard to get him off.

Journalist Deroy Murdock wrote on November 27 that “America’s role in the Global War on Terror grows stranger by the hour. President Obama’s fight against ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorists — such as it is — has entered the Twilight Zone. That is the only explanation for Obama’s increasingly bizarre tactics and statements against these existentially dangerous savages….”

“After 15 months of airstrikes against ISIS, America finally managed to bomb 116 trucks that smuggle oil out of ISIS territory, generating some $1.2 million in clandestine cash daily. ”

“This is our first strike against tanker trucks,” Operation Inherent Resolve Colonel Steve Warren told journalists from Baghdad on November 18.”
“To minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike.” Each leaflet reads, “Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them.” It continues, “Warning: Airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life.”

If someone is driving an oil tanker to earn the money for ISIS to buy the materials for more suicide vests or bomb-making materials they are welcome to get blown up along with the tanker. Let’s have a nice war where we don’t have to kill anybody? Surreal.

Wars are about killing people and breaking things until the enemy is so decimated and broken that they have to abjectly surrender with no ability to ever renew the fight. It’s hard to imagine that someone can turn 50 years old and not know that, but the president is a Progressive. When Hollywood gets closer to the truth than the White House, we’re in trouble.

Recommended Reading: “‘Degrading’ ISIS Is Not a Serious Strategy.” by Douglas Feith & Mario Loyola. Feith, the author of War and Decision, was Under Secretary of Defense for policy from 2001 to 2005. Loyola is a former counsel for foreign and defense policy to the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee and a former special assistant at the Pentagon. They do know something about what they’re talking about.



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