American Elephants

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.)


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.

Westerners Don’t Understand How Very Different Life Is In Iran by The Elephant's Child

iran-leisure-ski-snow-1426282008-2260Winter snow brings out the skiers in Iran, and there are ski resorts in the Elburz mountains outside Tehran — but winter fun is a little different there. Police have been deployed to enforce the segregation of male and female skiers.

General Hossein Sajadinia, the commander of the Greater Tehran police force, promised that his officers would “prevent any immoral offences by the skiers”.

He told local media that a “ski police unit” had been equipped with new uniforms to “withstand the mountainous conditions and yet be flexible enough to arrest offenders while chasing them on the slopes”.

Young Iranians meet and mix on the mountains, where some women push back their veils while dining in ski slope restaurants and shisha cafes.

General Sajadinia said they have sent a number of women officers to learn how to ski so they can carry out their assigned duties of dealing with women who defy the Islamic hijab, or anyone who plays loud music — especially when mixing with the opposite sex or committing sexual harassment. The ski slopes are segregated and women are not allowed to ski in the absence of a husband, father or brother.

A week ago, a court in Isfahan banned hiking by mixed gender people both by foreign tourists and local visitors. The trend, the court said was “an affront to the religious and revolutionary values of the Islamic Republic. Hassan Rouhani’s government is being criticized by hardliners for the lax social codes appearing in the country. Here’s a lonely ski policeman.


Concern Over Terrorism is a Preoccupation of Right-Wing Troglodytes by The Elephant's Child

kirc70wl1dnhqclmcaekIt has been reported that Obama told the National Security Council and the FBI to ‘downplay‘ any terrorist angle of the attack in San Bernardino. Sources indicated tension between President Obama and FBI Director James Comey about the nature of the attack in San Bernardino that left 14 civilians dead, and 17 wounded.

The FBI instantly believed that the shooting was a clear act of terrorism, but the White House moved quickly to squash the terror classification.

This source added that as soon as the shooting took place, Obama convened a meeting with the National Security Council and the heads of other federal enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy.

Part of the reason for trying to avoid the designation of the shootings as terrorism is because it threatens to upset the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria. A case of Islamic terrorism in the U.S. would put additional pressure on the administration to play a much more active role in the conflict.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s initial statement about responding aggressively to any Islamophobia was probably an outgrowth of that meeting, but someone reminded her of the First Amendment and she backed off.

“Because it threatens to upset the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria.” What strategy? The White House strategy seems to be doing as little as possible, while looking as if they are doing something, so they can pass the whole problem off to the next administration.

Obama spent his childhood in Malaysia, and undoubtedly never played Army as lots of little boys did. When kids were playing games and sports and learning about strategy, he was busy with his Choom Gang. I suspect that he never read any military history or military novels, and probably never saw any military movies. I wonder if he even saw  Saving Private Ryan? I may be way out in left field here, but telling the enemy just when you will be leaving the country, readjusting the Rules of Engagement so they are more ‘fair’ to the other side, and consequently losing more of your own men is an exhibition of a complete lack of understanding of the nature of war.

Obama made it very clear from the first that he was deeply opposed to the Iraq War, and to the War in Afghanistan. He clearly thought that our response to 9/11 should have been limited to getting bin Laden. Yet the Rules of Engagement he imposed in Afghanistan meant that twice as many American troops were killed under his administration than there had been under Bush. He lied to the American people and to Congress about releasing Gitmo detainees for Bowe Bergdahl, yet thought that the American people would be delighted at getting one of their boys back.

In his Oval Office speech, Obama admitted that the attacks were an act of terrorism, but hedged by saying the war is not on Islam, but on ISIS ISIL

He added that sending ‘boots on the ground’ into Syria or Iraq would be a huge mistake, though he had authorized 50 Special Forces into northern Syria, Kurdish territory.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the troops didn’t really count because they are not part of a combat mission.

It has long been clear that this president does not accept blame for anything. He seems incapable of saying that something was his fault and he made a mistake. That’s odd enough on its own, but the rest of it is just bizarre. He agrees to some bombing of ISIS, but most bombing runs return to base with their bombs intact because they couldn’t get permission to bomb the target. A hell of a way to conduct a war.

A former Department of Homeland Security agent says that an investigation he was conducting into a fundamentalist Islamic group operating in this country, might have helped to stop the Jihadi in San Bernardino, but the State Department and the HSA Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties shut down his investigation.  The ostensible reason was because the federal government did not want to profile Islamic groups.

In the process of shutting down Haney’s inquiry, the feds also deleted his files, which included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.

And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement. …

Talighi Jamaat has been linked to a number of attempted terrorist attacks targeting the U.S.

The Left’s new attack line is that people on the right are unfairly and unduly concerned about Moslem terrorism. The second attack line is that the Islamic State wants American boots on the ground. We are “playing right into their hands.”I keep noticing that the Left all says the same words as instructed by their talking points. They don’t even pretend that it was an idea that just occurred to them. Constant repitition will accomplish their ends.

Treat Serious Subjects with a Degree of Respect by The Elephant's Child

Muslim-PrayerThe media’s freakout over Donald Trump and especially his insistence that he will ban Muslims from the United States continues apace. Steven Hayward summed it up nicely at Powerline.

But let’s face it: the institution with the most at stake in Trump’s continued success is . . . the media. Here’s a not so secret fact of modern journalism: covering presidential campaigns is really boring. Most leading candidates are fairly disciplined, and stick to a standard stump speech. They don’t make a lot of national news, with the exception of having to respond to events (or in this case, respond to Trump). If you’re covering Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio right now, you aren’t getting much broadcast airtime or front-page space. Covering Trump has to be the best thing since the invention of movable type: you never know what he’s going to say.  …

All he has to do to capture the news cycle is to pick up the phone and make some outrageous statement.

Our new Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s response to the San Bernardino massacre, was that she would be concerned about a rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Politically incorrect speech, which is of course, free speech —protected by the First Amendment. She later backed down. There were innumerable cries about Trump’s statement being totally unconstitutional, but several law professors specializing in First Amendment law explained carefully that we can legally forbid entry to anyone.

On the other hand, there is a religious test for refugees. In theory, as I understand it, a refugee is someone admitted above and beyond the quota for the year on the basis that they face persecution and danger in their native country because of their religion. This is a real problem for Christians in the Middle East whose lives are threatened.

The suggestion that we might target Muslims is assumed to be a “hate crime”  largely by the Democratic Party.  Despite the liberal narrative, it is Jews, not Muslims who are the greatest victims of what the FBI calls religiously targeted hate crimes in America. 57% of anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews, 16% targeted Muslims. Anti-Christian or anti-Protestant bias came in third at 8.6%.

The problem for the West seems to be Sharia Law, handed down by the Prophet as rules that govern every aspect of life for believing Muslims. We speak of “radical Islam” but that seems to mean only that adherents are expected to follow its tenets to the letter. The penalty for rejecting Islam is death. The penalty for speaking any words that can be interpreted as critical of the Prophet is death. Those who are “not radicalized” feel that the passage of centuries has perhaps changed or  modified things somewhat, or has it?

Others say that Islam is not a religion but an ideology. Osama bin Laden was radicalized by the work of Sayud Qtub who came to believe that the misfortunes facing Muslims were because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because the people had not followed Shariah closely enough, and failed to eliminate those who would not submit.

British police have come forward to say that Trump is right because Muslim areas of Britain are “so radicalized” they are no-go areas. While we debate Trump’s statements, France has closed three mosques, in which they found hundreds of weapons. Nine people have been arrested and another 22 have been banned. They have also kicked in the doors of 2,235 homes and taken 232 people into custody or placed them  under house arrest.

From The Daily Mail: ISIS army of scientists set to wage chemical and biological war on the West. They claim to have already smuggled weapons of mass destruction into the European Union. The terror organization has recruited experts with chemistry, physics and Computer science degrees to wage war with future attacks.

Obama said that America must enlist Muslim communities to combat terrorism. Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent John Guandolo said that since 9/11, “we collectively have received nearly zero help from the Muslim community,” In the Wall Street Journal Yesterday, Khurram Dara, an attorney and author of The Crescent Directive and Contracting Fear wrote that “after San Bernardino, American Muslims have to come to terms with an ever more apparent truth; that we and our mainstream Muslim brethren, are the only ones who can lead a winning fight against the radicalism crippling our faith.”

This is all a deep and troubling conundrum, and worth far more study and thought than a would-be politician popping off to get the day’s most notable news bite.


President Obama Spoke to the Nation From the Oval Office. by The Elephant's Child

obamacarePresident Obama spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, intending to assure the public that he is absolutely correct in his strategy for, um, fighting ISIS; great tragedy in San Bernardino, killing a diverse group of Americans, which proves we need more gun laws, and though these two killers may have been radicalized by false notions of Islam, we mustn’t blame any Muslims because Islam is a religion of peace. Blaming Muslims would be a denial of our true American values,

His strategy, which is absolutely correct, is bombing ISIS ISIL with such strict rules of engagement that most flights never release their bombs. We cannot risk killing any civilians, so don’t go bombing any trucks that might be driven by a civilian. That would be a denial of our true American values. Remember that he killed Osama bin Laden. He has sent in Special Forces, all 50 of them, to train someone there how to fight ISIS ISIL We tried that before, but it ended up costing about a million dollars per fighter, and there ended up being only five of them left, anyway.

Above all, Obama promised that we weren’t going to have any war boots on the ground, because he wasn’t going to be George W. Bush and do any stupid stuff.  Our present policy of admitting large numbers of Syrian refugees from an assortment of Middle Eastern countries will not change because Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims mostly vote Democrat.

Here is an actual transcript of the speech. Obama said that we will defeat the real threat of terrorism, but didn’t explain how the “real threat” differs from the present threat, and we will “destroy” ISIS ISIL or any other organization that threatens the country. He just didn’t say how.

The President spoke at a podium in the Oval Office, not from his chair with his feet on the desk, as pictured above.  It was a formal speech to the nation,  only the third time he has addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He apparently thought it was important to say the same old things once again.  I may not have been entirely fair here.

If You Can’t Call a Terrorist a Terrorist, Just What Can You Call Him? Or Her? by The Elephant's Child

On November 12, President Obama said ISIS had been “contained.”The very next day ISIS launched a deadly attack in Paris that left 130 people dead. There appears to be a scandal developing within the intelligence community about the suppression of intelligence, or the disregard of intelligence about the rise of ISIS that did not fit the view of the Obama administration. a new report says there’s unprecedented isis mobilization-in-the-us According to Townhall, George Washington University’s Program on Extremism released a report that showed “unprecedented” ISIS related mobilization in the United States.

Seventy-one individuals have been charged with ISIS-related activities since March 2014. Fifty-six have been arrested in 2015 alone, a record number of terrorism-related arrests for any year since 9/11.   […]

The profiles of individuals involved in ISIS-related activities in the U.S. differ widely in race, age, social class, education, and family background. Their motivations are equally diverse and defy easy analysis.    […]

ISIS-related radicalization is by no means limited to social media. While instances of purely web-driven, individual radicalization are numerous, in several cases U.S.-based individuals initially cultivated and later strengthened their interest in ISIS’s narrative through face-to-face relationships. In most cases online and offline dynamics complement one another.The spectrum of U.S.-based sympathizers’ actual involvement with ISIS varies significantly, ranging from those who are merely inspired by its message to those few who reached mid-level leadership positions within the group.     […]

The 71 indictments are merely the tip of the iceberg, as U.S. authorities estimate that the number of individuals linked to ISIS is much larger. Our researchers identified a few dozen individuals with reported ISIS links who have not been charged. Similar to those in the legal system, the “At-Large” cohort have no common profile.

Among them, for example, are three teenage girls from the suburbs of Denver, two Somali-American sisters aged 15 and 17, and their 16-year-old friend of Sudanese descent. The trio lived a normal and comfortable life among their unsuspecting families and peers.


What Would FDR Have Said When Confronted With a Rising Danger? by The Elephant's Child


Sometimes a little historical reference can help clarify events in the present. History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but the same problems arise over and over.


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