American Elephants


First You Conduct the Operation, Then You Can Tell the Bad Guys About It, If There Are Any of Them Left. by The Elephant's Child

US-Defense-Secretary-Ashton-Carter

I wrote back on the 16th that the president seems to feel free to announce our military operations in advance, in effect warning our enemies about just what we’re up to. Our enemies not only read our papers and the internet, but devote considerable expertise to hacking intelligence sources to find out what we are doing.

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.

General Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter demanding that the Pentagon stop discussing the operations of elite American troops.

The White House announced in October that a small number of special operations forces—less than 50 —would be deployed to Syria to fight the terror group there. Then Carter told lawmakers that the U.S. would deploy a specialized expeditionary targeting force” to fight Iraq to fight ISIS. These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders, Carter told the House Armed Services Committee hearing, according to the Hill.

An anonymous defense official questioned about the memo told Foreign Policy that Carter “shares Gen. Votel’s concerns about the public disclosure of SOF operations, especially any reporting that could expose our personnel to additional risk and undermine their chances for success.”

He further stated, however, that the Pentagon is obligated to keep the public informed.

I don’t think the Pentagon is obligated to keep the public informed before an operation. After will do just fine. I just don’t want the president or the Pentagon making a mission more dangerous by announcing it beforehand, when it is not necessary. Americans may be casual about keeping up with the latest troop movements. Our enemies are not. Shouldn’t that be basic common sense?



Obama’s Huge Problem with the “Rules of Engagement” Threatens Our Troops by The Elephant's Child

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Up till now, the U.S. Army could have engaged with ISIS in Afghanistan — only if  the group “posed a threat to the U.S.” which meant they had to be designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Obama has changed the rules of engagement so they can now pursue ISIS-K  (ISIS-Khorasan) in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a terrorist organization.

The designation of the group as a “terrorist organization” means the US also prohibits any cooperation with or supply of material or resources to the group.

ISIS-K was formed a year ago in January by a group of militants who defected from the Tehrik-e Taliban and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. So Obama’s only a year late in protecting our troops.

“ISIS-K already is believed to be responsible for suicide and small-arms attacks and kidnappings, targeting civilians and Afghan government officials,” CNN reported.

President Obama has had an interesting relationship with the rules of engagement since he became president. The massacre at Fort Hood happened because soldiers on the base were forbidden to carry weapons. And that’s only one of the examples.

American planes in Syria, once they have found a significant target, have to radio back to base to get permission to actually bomb it, and then it goes up the chain of command who decide if there is any risk of killing civilians, so most of the missions reportedly return to base with bombs intact. And it was recently reported that bombing missions had to drop leaflets telling civilians on the ground to run away because we were going to drop bombs on those oil trucks.

In the first four years of the Obama administration — 3 times as many Americans were killed in Afghanistan as in the 8 years of George W. Bush’s conduct of the war — and there was no prospect of victory.

Under Obama, there were 8,000 Islamic terrorist attacks on infidels across the globe — a 25% increase over the period when fighting in Iraq was at its peak. The administration dropped the designation “War on Terror” and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations.” Any student of language could tell you things about that wording.

Obama has a peculiar relationship with national security. I have always suspected that he never saw a war movie, unless it was an anti-war film, never studied the history of the United States and never read a military history. He goes to great lengths to make a show of protecting civilians, but blithely orders drone attacks on gatherings of terrorist  wedding parties or  family gatherings. He really likes Special Forces because they added the death of bin-Laden to his legacy. But he demonstrates his unfamiliarity with things military when he says things like ‘corpse man’ and gets his grandfather’s service in Patton’s Army all confused.

Leaving our troops on the battlefield without the ability to shoot back is simply unconscionable. His reported daily briefings in 3 short paragraphs with 3 choices of action don’t allow for much discussion of pros and cons or alternatives.

Obama ran for the presidency using the Iraq War and George W, Bush as a foil. Public support for the war had begun to decline, and there was a specific unrecognized reason for that. And there was the same reason behind Obama’s attempt to blame every criticism of his actions on George W. Bush.

(h/t: weasel zippers)



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

Tom-Cotton
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.



Will Obama Get Away With Closing Gitmo? And Should He? by The Elephant's Child

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As the lamest of ducks, President Obama is trying to shore up his legacy, turning to executive orders and going around Congress in any way that he can. He is turning to executive orders and regulation to accomplish that which he couldn’t get through Congress, specifically his original campaign promises.

But Obama  was not elected on his campaign promises, but on “Hope and Change” and the promise to improve race relations — and yet he has been the most divisive president in history. He said:

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there’s the United States of America.

People thought he meant that. Unfortunately he didn’t.

He is attempting to empty the detention facility at Guantanamo, force a two-state solution on Israel and Palestine, end the embargo on Cuba, and get us out of the Middle East and turn it over to Iran to manage. He believes that the world hates us because we torture people at Gitmo, and that it is a recruitment tool for terrorists. He believes that only Israel’s intransigence prevents a two-state solution, and that Israel is the source of all the trouble in the Middle East, and that Cuba will be a good neighbor if we just end the embargo and welcome them into the family of nations. Not one of these things is true, so how did we get here?

Back in 2009, Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at University of Chicago and New York University described Obama as he knew him in Chicago, and through his own next door neighbor who was Obama’s best friend. Among other things, Epstein said that Obama was very dogmatic, and once he believed something, it was set in concrete. He does not change his mind. And that has often proved to be a telling observation.

The president seems to have a very small group of trusted advisors He speaks of getting a daily intelligence briefing, but we were told he prefers a written couple of paragraphs with 2 or 3 choices on actions to take. He doesn’t like disagreement, and has said that he can do his adviser’s jobs better than they can. All those Czars and he apparently doesn’t listen to them anyway.

Nobody gets tortured at Gitmo, the detainees get better treatment than their guards. Gitmo plays no part in terrorist recruitment. Israel would be happy to have a two-state solution with Palestine if they recognize the State of Israel and stop firing missiles into Israel and sending in jihadists to stab Israelis. Palestine has no interest in a two state solution. Cuba is delighted to have American money, but has no intention of dropping Communism, releasing dissidents, nor changing their dismal nation in any way.

Obama is releasing 17 detainees, most if not all of them al Qaeda associated jihadists, who can be expected to return to killing Americans. This is part of the plan to shutter Guantanamo, and leaves about 90 detainees who cannot be transferred to another country.  President Obama wants to transfer them to this country, but Congress has passed a law forbidding such a transfer,  I believe. The president is trying to find a way around Congress.  He wants the facility closed, many think he wants to return Guantanamo to Cuba.

I am constantly fascinated by those who protest the “inhuman treatment” at Gitmo, the “torture,” the “illegality” without ever bothering to find out anything about the reality there. Can’t be bothered, protesting is fun.

The cost to Obama’s legacy may be severe, and counted out in killings.

—”Source: ‘Al Qaeda followers’ among 17 being transferred from Gitmoby Catherine Herridge, Fox News

The Terrorists Freed by Obamaby Thomas Joscelyn, Stephen F. Hayes, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Ten detainees leaving Gitmo in bulk transfer Thursday, defense officials sayby Lucas Tomlinson. Fox News

—”High risk’ Guantanamo detainee transferred to Kuwait by Thomas Joscelyn. Long War Journal

Ghana falsely claims 2 former Guantanamo detainees were ‘cleared of any involvement’ in terrorism by Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal

Why Obama will get away with closing Gitmoby Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, New York Post



Bret Stephens on The Coming Global Disorder by The Elephant's Child

Bret Stephens has been the foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal for nine years. This is a speech he delivered to the David Horowitz Freedom Center Texas Retreat, last June. A very thoughtful speech. It reflects much of the thinking expressed in his 2014 book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.

It’s perhaps a little long for a Wednesday night when tomorrow is a work day, but do save it to watch when you have time. You will be glad you did.



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 )



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.

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