American Elephants


Rising Threats: Shrinking Military. Three Former Secretaries of Defense Speak Out. by The Elephant's Child


“Bret Baier talks with Mr. Obama’s three former defense secretaries, who all agree: inexperienced paranoid Obama staffers tried to micromanage the war on terror from the White House, believing that the military had it in for Obama, and shade their views to please the president. Taken together, it’s quite a damning portrait of a president deeply in over his head, and a world out of control as a result:”

In an interview with the New Yorker in 2008, the new President Obama said confidently:

I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.

That’s a quote that will continue to haunt him. But he hasn’t done a very good job of hiring aides and advisors. He has ignored the advice of the most capable, and paid too much attention to the sycophants. It’s all to easy to lap up the flattery from those who want to please, but  when capable advisors tell you that you’re making a mistake — you’d better listen.



Obama’s Disastrous Iran Deal and Its Reverberations by The Elephant's Child

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Obama’s bizarre love affair with Iran continues: so writes Roger L. Simon at PJ Media. “In the last week or so, Obama has decided to ignore the putatively sanctioned Iranian missile tests—the ones with the “charming” admonitions for Israel to be wiped off the Earth emblasoned on the fuselage in Hebrew and Farsi—and seemingly agreed to the ayatollah’s demand that Iran should be allowed into our dollar system. A hundred and fifty billion evidently wasn’t enough.”

Iran clearly is continuing to do just as they choose, ignoring any sanctions, as if there was no ‘deal’. Congress has not agreed to any deal. Yet when Obama lightly criticizes Iran it comes across as absolutely bizarre — as advice to Iran on their business climate. “When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.” It makes six million Israelis nervous too.

Congress  has not lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. Keep that in mind. The President and the Secretary of State cannot make treaties on their own. The U.S. Constitution requires congressional approval for any such agreement.

European governments and industries are heading for Tehran to get a cut of the massive windfall that the end of international sanctions. Americans are largely sidelined. However, Obama has given Boeing special permission to do business with Iran. The administration hs been cutting back on defense spending. A new market would mean jobs and decreasing the trade deficit.

Obama believes that new business will improve the Iranian economy and benefit Iran’s people who had been suffering under sanctions. The Supreme Leader has no concern for Iran’s people but is only interested in destroying Israel and the United States. He says so, regularly. Obama believes, ignoring long years of evidence, that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon, that they are people just like us who care about their people and their families.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. writes in the Wall Street Journal:

If the carrots of engagement aren’t working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. Recent half measures against Iran’s violations of the ballistic-missile ban are not enough. If the aggression continues, the U.S. and the global community should make clear that Iran will face the full range of sanctions and other steps still available under U.N. resolutions and in the nuclear deal itself.

Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region must stop. Until it does, our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us—as dangerous and as disruptive as ever.

“Congress is investigating whether the Obama administration misled lawmakers last summer about the extent of concessions granted to Iran under the nuclear deal, as well as if administration officials have been quietly rewriting the deal’s terms in the aftermath of the agreement, according to sources and a formal notice sent to the State Department. ”

“The concerns come after statements from top officials last week suggesting that Iran is set to receive greater weapons and sanctions relief, moves that the administration had promised Congress would never take place as White House officials promoted the deal last summer.”

The other wild card in the deal is the price of oil, which is running currently at about $37 a barrel — far below Iran’s break-even price. Obama will not give permission to bomb any oil field because of the environment.



Obama: Iran is Obeying letter of the Nuclear Deal, Not the Spirit by The Elephant's Child

Last Friday, President Obama had a news conference and talked a bit about his friends in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He said: “When they launched ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel that makes businesses nervous…If Iran continues to ship missiles to Hezbollah, that gets businesses nervous.” And here was Obama, hoping that with the new influx of businesses from around the world, Iran would turn to improving the economy of their country and improving the lives of their people. Here’s the complete transcript.

And here’s Ezra Levant who ran across a video clip posted by the White House, of Obama boasting about just how awesome the Iran Deal is, except the nuclear program isn’t dismantled? The deal is so pathetically awful that if Obama were trying to destroy America, instead of leading the country — what would he have done differently?



President Obama Talks Big on Security, But the Facts Don’t Support His Arguments by The Elephant's Child

afghan-viewAdmiral James A. Lyons, USN Ret. wrote on Tuesday in the Washington Times that there is no justification whatsoever for removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. “Our intelligence clearly shows that Cuba was allowing and continues to allow Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy terror group, to maintain a command-and-control base on Cuban soil from which to conduct criminal, narco-trafficking and terrorist operations throughout the Western hemisphere.”

Regrettably, this leads to the sad conclusion that President Obama has lied again when he certified to Congress, as required by federal law, that Cuba could be safely removed from the U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Does anybody care that our president lied again over a matter that affects our national security? Where is the outcry from our congressional leadership over this travesty?

One of Mr. Obama’s campaign promises was that he would close the U.S. Naval Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama based this on the idea that keeping Gitmo to keep the world’s most dangerous terrorists, was used by al Qaeda and ISIS as a major recruitment tool. Our intelligence agencies keep a close watch on terrorist communications and recruitment, and there is no evidence that they have any interest in Gitmo.

Mr. Obama has for seven years prevented terrorists captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan from being sent to Gitmo. They are either transferred to foreign custody or just released so they can kill more Americans. President Obama prefers to kill them with drone strikes instead, but this makes them respected Islamic “martyrs” by dying fighting for Allah. This deprives America of sensitive intelligence that could have saved lives. Obama remains  convinced, against all evidence, that Guantanamo is where Americans torture poor Muslims  deluded into fighting “the Great Satan.”

Unfortunately, about 30 percent of those released from Gitmo, return to the battlefield, and are known to return to killing Americans. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have informed Congress that federal law prevents the U.S. armed forces from transferring al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist detainees from Gitmo to the United States.

President Obama’s restrictive rules of engagement forced on our combat forces have increased fatalities by 400 percent per year and wounded have increased by 378 percent per year. From 2001 to 2008 combat fatalities averaged 90 per year for a total of 630 U.S. military lost. Between 2009 to 2013,losses have jumped to a total of 2,292. The restrictive rules of engagement have had the effect of neutralizing our military capability while boosting the capabilities of terrorists.



Can We Take the Matter of Terrorism Seriously? by The Elephant's Child

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From the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday:

Tuesday’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels have left at least 30 people dead and more than 200 wounded, shut down the capital of Europe and raised security alarms from Frankfurt to London to New York. (See above.) So maybe it’s time we all get over our inordinate fear of Islamist terrorism.

Believe it or not, that’s the not-so-subliminal message we keep hearing from President Obama, even as he condemned the attacks during his visit to Cuba. “Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents and falls in bathtubs do,” reports Jeffrey Goldberg in a lengthy profile of the President’s national-security thinking in the Atlantic magazine. Islamic State, Mr. Obama is quoted as telling adviser Valerie Jarrett, is “not coming here to chop our heads off.”

I suppose it’s tempting to try to minimize the fear of terrorist action, when your foreign policy is entirely guided by your erroneous belief that you have saved America from the misguided efforts of the hated George W. Bush in Iraq, when you promised to end the war, and keep congratulating yourself for so doing, completely ignoring the results of that misguided pullout. But there is something particularly ugly about comparing the death count from falls in the bathtub to what the victims of terrorism and their families face.  Unusually callous.

At Commentary, Max Boot treats the subject with the seriousness it deserves:

As we struggle for an answer to the threat posed by ISIS, it’s worth remembering how the U.S. and Israel in the past defeated suicidal terrorist groups. There is, of course, no simple answer, no magical solution, but the essence comes down to the realization that the threat comes not from demented individuals but from a network run by savvy organizers who are not themselves suicidal. (You don’t see the leaders of groups like ISIS or Hamas wearing suicide vests; it’s rare to even see their children engaging in such acts.) Suicide bombers have to be manufactured. Making the actual explosives is the least of the problems, although that requires significant expertise, too. The real issue is indoctrinating young men (and sometimes young women) to perform the unnatural — and, in Islam, forbidden — act of committing suicide and in the process taking the lives of innocents.

It can take months to recruit and train would-be suicide bombers and then additional weeks and months to locate a target, figure out the optimal time for an attack, and then put the bomber in a position to inflict maximal damage. If a counter-terrorist force can disrupt the —network that makes the suicide bombing possible, then not even the willingness of individuals to kill themselves will suffice to create the kind of mass-casualty attacks that terrorists crave. At most, disorganized terrorists can carry off the kind of small-scale knifings that unfortunately have become all too regular an occurrence in Israel today.  (Do read the whole thing)

We need to start talking about Islam honestly. Many Muslims believe that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” and treat it in that way.  Osama bin Laden and his followers believed that the rise of the Western world occurred because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because they were not following the rules of the Koran as the Prophet had taught them, and it was necessary to return to the purity of Islam as taught in the 6th Century.

In America and in Europe, Religion has changed from the days of the Inquisition, the burning of witches. We had more than our share of religious wars — but we also had the Reformation. America had plenty of religious battles in the very early years, but when the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, they wrote”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. or prohibiting the free exercise therof, ” which has caused enough problems in its clear simplicity. Americans, excepting parts of the Left, are quite protective of the freedom of religion, and thus very conscious of restrictions on religion as applied to Islam. And the new epithet has become “Islamophobia” to go along with the more usual “racist.”

I see no reason why we should not welcome Muslim immigrants, but they should recognize that some of the customs and rules of the Koran are against the laws of this country. Honor killings will get you sent to the penitentiary, wife-beating is assault, and our culture is far more open to women’s education and accomplishments than is usual in many Muslim countries. It is not discrimination to talk about such things. but just clear and honest.

Terror is supposed to frighten us into submission. That’s why they do it. A little straight talk and a lot less political correctness would seem to be in order.



Twin Bombings at Rush Hour in Brussels by The Elephant's Child

Another bombing, this time at rush hour in Brussels, and ISIS claims responsibility. One was at Zaventem airport, and the other at a Metro station near the headquarters of the European Union. Belgian police have mounted a nationwide search for a third terrorist suspect seen fleeing from the site of the airport bombing. There is a photo of three men believed the attackers in the airport bombing. This attack took place just four days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the primary suspect as the leader of the Paris attacks. In Brussels there are 31 dead, and 108 injured, including nine Americans.

“Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek [sic] Metro station. The attacks resulted in more than 230 dead and wounded.”

So it is not clear at all how many ISIS fighters were involved.

Authorities in this country were quick to say that there were no credible threats against this country. They assured us that airports were now on high alert, though that suggests that they are not usually on “high alert.”

It might be helpful if we had a clear strategy for dealing with Islamic terrorism, and quit calling it “violent extremism” at the most politically correct. ISIS is not a “Jayvee” team, and the mullahs in Iran are not our friends. The President is at a baseball game in Cuba, declaring the “final end” to the Cold War, but then the clear-eyed experts that were once part of his administration have long since departed.



The Obama Doctrine, Revisited by The Elephant's Child

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One of the most important articles to appear lately comes from the April issue of The Atlantic magazine called “The Obama Doctrine” in which Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg interviews President Barack Obama  about “his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.”

It is an extraordinarily revealing article, and has been widely discussed. If you have a concern for your country and for its future, this is one you need to read and think about.

A significant group of columnists have chosen to respond to the Obama interview, or at least to the opinions expressed.

Here’s Danielle Pletka, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute on “Confessions of Barack Obama , confidence man.”:

The Obama that emerges from the Atlantic interview is preternaturally icy, contemptuous of both his adversaries and his own staff, thin-skinned, angry, and oddly self-satisfied. That character portrait aside, it would have been nice if the article had shed light on the worldview that governs Obama’s decisions. Rather, it illuminated the fact that he doesn’t have a worldview.

Hisham Melhem is a columnist for Al Arabia at Washington DC, and a correspondent for the Lebanese newspaper Annahar. “The Middle East is Unraveling—and Obama Offers Words:”

In these speeches, as in Goldberg’s article, Obama comes across as a scholar who oscillates between providing compelling analysis of the problems and trends he is confronting or anticipating, and a tireless sophist and procrastinator weaving elaborate excuses and justifications for dithering and hand-wringing.

William A. Galston writes at the Wall Street Journal, about “The All-Spock-No- Kirk President — revealing that he misunderstands the office he occupies.”

Consistent with his progressivist understanding of history, the president offers a strong defense of what we have come to call soft power: “Diplomacy and technocrats and bureaucrats . . . are helping to keep America safe.” He is right, but he carries the point much too far. “Real power,” he asserts, means that “you can get what you want without having to exert violence.” Not so; military power is just as real as diplomatic and economic power, and sometimes it is the only thing than can work. Unlike Vladimir Putin, Mr. Obama has consistently ignored the ways in which the military balance on the ground shapes what is diplomatically possible.

Victor Davis Hanson at The Jewish World Review points out that “The Buck Never Stops Here”

This blame-gaming is old and tired. After Obama established a “red line” with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the use of chemical weapons, only to see Assad ignore the warning with impunity, Obama denied that he had ever set a red line in the first place. Instead, he claimed the United Nations and Congress had set one. Obama has blamed the Syrian fiasco on Congress and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for pressing for the training of Syrian rebels.

Bret Stephens, columnist at The Wall Street Journal says “Barack Obama Checks Out.”

Barack Obama—do you remember him?—will remain in office for another 311 days. But not really. The president has left the presidency. The commander in chief is on sabbatical. …
In his place, an exact look-alike of Mr. Obama is giving interviews to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, interviews that are so gratuitously damaging to long-standing U.S. alliances, international security and Mr. Obama’s reputation as a serious steward of the American interest that the words could not possibly have sprung from the lips of the president himself.

 




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