Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, Military, Terrorism, United Nations | Tags: Catastrophe in Syria, The Hungry Looking for Food, Yarmouk Refugees
The Obama administration’s Syria policy has been a blunder of historic proportions. When he might have intervened effectively, he dithered, When he did intervene it was ineffectual. When the situation was manageable, it was neglected. Nevertheless, this is not the responsibility of the U.S. government. It is the responsibility of Bashar Assad and his supporters, al Qaeda and other radical Muslims who have forcibly taken over the opposition to Assad.
This photograph was taken late last month. The scene is Yarmouk, a district of Damascus that is populated mostly by Palestinian “refugees” and has been the scene of heavy fighting. The U.N. is passing out food packages and the starving people are hoping to get something to eat. This is truly an example of a picture being worth more than a thousand words. (Click to enlarge)
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Military, Politics, The United States | Tags: Caring For Our Veterans, Disability Claims Backlog, Just Destroy the Backlog
December 30, 2013: The Obama administration’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki said that it is on track to eliminate the disability claims backlog. For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president, the veterans claims backlog will end this year lower than it began.
Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they’re on track to end the backlog entirely sometime in 2015. At the start of December, the claims backlog —the number of cases unfinished for more than 125 days — sat at just under 393,000 cases. Critics call that an embarrassingly large number, especially considering that the White House pledged to fix the problem almost four years ago. But the peak was 608,000 in March.
Shinseki credits mandatory overtime for the agency workforce and new computer processing systems that pushed to agency to come out of paper to go into electronics.
February 14, 2014: Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told the Daily Caller.
“The committee was called ‘System Redesign’ and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” said Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center.
“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. “It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”
By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.
VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.
Audio from a November 2008 meeting was obtained by the Daily Caller.
“I’m still canceling orders from 2001,” said a male official in the meeting.
“Anything over a year old should be canceled.” replied a female official
“Canceled or … your backlog should start at April “07″ the female official replied, adding “a lot of those patients either had their studies somewhere else, had their surgery … died, don’t live in the state. …It’s ridiculous.”
Congress has been after the VA for some time, trying to get information, responses, and explanations. This is just the first chapter is a long disgusting story. The government is not dependable. Promises are not kept. Contracts are not fulfilled. Politicians lie and cover up, and promise that which they cannot deliver, in order to get votes. Ethics start at the top.
July 1, 2013: The Backlog:
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East, Military, National Security, Russia, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: 2015 Budget Request, Defense Secretary Hagel, Sir Hew Strachan
What is the natural state of the world? Is it peace — or war? That’s one of the big questions, and much depends on your answer.
At the extremes are those who are sure that if we just lay down our arms, destroy them, and ask the world to follow our example, then there will be real and permanent peace. At the other extreme are those who believe that we are a fallen, quarrelsome species always looking for an opportunity to dominate another.
A conservative …takes the world as given, a place always full of sin, silliness and a rich surplus of stupidity—but also much goodness and mirth. The conservative fancies he views the world, as the philosophers say, as in itself it really is. Utopia is not his idea of a good time; it is not, for him, an idea at all, but an illusion. If he is sensible, he understands the need to alter social arrangements that are cruel or grossly unfair. But the installation of perfection in a patently permanently imperfect world is not something he has signed on to deliver. This in itself ought to bring a smile to his face. Joseph Epstein
Headline in today’s New York Times: Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level. Not back to the level of 1933, when the Army of the United States of America was 16th in size, at 137,000 men. By December 7, 1941 — the army was 1,640,000, and after our entry into World War II expanded to 8,300,000 officers and men. About 5,000,000 served overseas. In 2011, numbers were 556,000. Secretary Hagel proposes 440,000 – 450,000.
Budget cuts and indifference to maintaining the “arsenal of democracy” have led to units that are not ready to deploy, and soldiers with weapons their grandfathers used. According to reports 85% of its brigades are not combat-ready.
The Navy is down to 10 carriers, even though there is currently a demand for 15 carriers. The Navy has tried to make up the lack by deploying carriers for longer than ever at sea, but the price has been high. Similar cuts are planned for the Air Force and the Marines.
British military historian Sir Hew Strachan, an expert on the history of war, says that the president’s strategic failures in Afghanistan and Syria have crippled America’s position in the world. President Obama is “chronically incapable” of military strategy and falls far short of his predecessor George W. Bush, according to one of Britain’s most senior military advisors. “Obama,” he said, “has no sense of what he wants to do in the world.”
Part of the problem, Strachan says, is that politicians are worried about allowing military leaders to give open and frank advice. Concern about the military speaking out shows a lack of maturity. You need their advice.
As of last October, President Obama has fired an unprecedented, and baffling, 197 officers. The military is being cleansed of any officer suspected of disloyalty or disagreement with the administration on matters of policy or force structure, leaving the compliant and fearful. Reasons range from “loss of confidence in command ability,” ‘mishandling of funds” to” inappropriate relationships,” “Inappropriate behavior,” to “low morale in troops commanded,” or simply no reason given.
For President Obama, the military of a once-feared superpower is an anachronistic vestige of an America whose exceptionalism and world leadership require repeated apologies. It must be gutted and fundamentally transformed into a force wearing gender-neutral headgear only useful for holding the presidential umbrella when it rains. It is to be “his” military and used only for “his” purposes. Investors
I have no expertise in matters military, except a fairly good knowledge of history, and attention to what is going on in the world. Defense Secretary Gates was dismayed by the controlling nature of the White House, and found Obama to be deeply suspicious of senior officers and recommendations. All decisions were political. Osama bin Laden may be gone, but al Qaeda is growing and strengthening. The American people now believe that Obama is not respected on the world stage, according to Gallup. Even if we are hated around the world, when disaster strikes, they call for American help—and we have been ready to provide it.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Heartwarming, History, Military | Tags: Character, The White House, United States Marines
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Military | Tags: North Korean Threat, The Totalitarian Mind, Reminder of Reality
It’s hard to remember that the year 1990 was 23 years ago, and those who born at “the End of History” are now 23 years old and the “young invincibles”on whom Obama depends to rescue the unworkable liberal dream of ObamaCare from oblivion. In 1990, capitalism had triumphed and there was no serious ideological challenger left in the world. The global trend toward freedom swept away dictatorships, apartheid in South Africa and the Serbian challenge in the Balkans. Was the 1990′s only the high point of Pax America and global freedom?
Well not so fast. September 11 was a rude awakening to the fact that history was still with us, and the twelve years since have only proved the point. Dictators are reasserting themselves in the former Soviet Union, radical Islam gets even more radical and is close to having a nuclear weapon, and mayhem breaks out with regularity. The American superpower has lost its will to lead a world order, let alone police it. We apparently want to be just another nation among others, and as the United States retreats, disorder increases.
Kim Jong Un reminds us that the totalitarian mind has not vanished, even if we’d prefer not to see. The North Korean dictator reminds us that not even family is immune. The public frog-march and execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, is a reminder of just what the totalitarian mind is capable of, and why it remains a challenge to the world.
It also turns out there is a challenge to democratic capitalism: the eternal human temptation to rule and subjugate other human beings. The motivating ideology varies, such as fanatical Islam, what is left of Communist belief in China and North Korea, tribalism in parts of Asia and Africa, or simply the quest for power and control.
North Korea’s regime is instructive precisely because it has managed to survive and become even more threatening despite the post-Cold War currents of freedom. Partly this is due to its isolation, and partly to the protection of its patrons in Beijing. But its survival is also the result of the regime’s sheer will to dynastic power at all costs, and the West’s willingness to ignore its horrors.
The totalitarian mind is increasingly a threat to us all, because it is rapidly acquiring the technology to kill people far beyond the population of North Korea.They have nuclear warheads and will soon have a missile that can reach the United States, and they are happy to share the technology to anyone with enough cash.
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Military, Music, The United States | Tags: Joy to the World, Mational Air and Space Museum, USAF Band Flash Mob
The United States Air Force Band performed a surprise flash mob at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on December 3. Lovely!
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, History, Military, National Security, The United States | Tags: Pearl Harbor 1941, Remembrance and Preparedness, The Battleship Arizona
(Republished from Last year)
Every year on December 7, we say “Remember Pearl Harbor” but fail to point out why we should be remembering. John Steele Gordon in his essential history An Empire of Wealth: the Epic History of American Economic Power, outlines the state of the world:
In a fireside chat on December 29, 1940, Franklin Roosevelt first used a phrase that would prove enduring when he called upon the United States to become “the great arsenal of democracy.”
…..War had broken out in Europe on September 1, 1939, after German troops invaded Poland, and France and Great Britain stood by their pledges to come to Poland’s aid. Few Americans thought the Nazis anything but despicable, but public opinion in the United States was overwhelmingly to stay out of the conflict. Many newspapers…were strongly isolationist. In 1934 Senator Hiram Johnson of California had pushed through a bill forbidding the Treasury to make loans to any country that had failed to pay back earlier loans. That, of course included Britain and France. On November 4, 1939, Congress had passed the Neutrality Act, which allowed purchases of war materiel only on a “cash and carry” basis.
…..Seven months later France fell to the Nazi onslaught, and Britain stood alone. In the summer of 1940 Germany proved unable to defeat the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain and thus gain the air superiority necessary to mount an invasion across the English Channel. It tried instead to bludgeon Britain into submission with the blitz and to force Britain into submission by cutting off its trade lifelines across the Atlantic. It nearly worked. …
…..At the time American military forces were puny. The army had about three hundred thousand soldiers—fewer than Yugoslavia—and was so short of weapons that new recruits often had to drill with broomsticks instead of rifles. The equipment it did have was often so antiquated that the chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, thought the army no better than “that of a third-rate power.” The navy, while equal to Britain’s in size, lacked ammunition to sustain action, and much of its equipment was old or unreliable.
Roosevelt realized what was at stake in terms of America’s own security, but he felt that Britain must survive long enough to hold the Nazis at bay while the U.S. rearmed and he was able to bring the American people around to see where their own true interests lay. This was easier said than done.
On September 16, 1940 Congress approved the first peacetime draft in American history and 16.4 million men between the ages of 20 and 35 registered. But it specified that none was to serve outside the Western Hemisphere and that their terms of service were not to exceed twelve months. In 1941 Roosevelt was able to get Lend Lease through Congress, and after Pearl Harbor, isolationism vanished from the American political landscape.
Japan ran loose over the Pacific for the next six months, taking Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, the Dutch East Indies, and Burma while threatening Australia and India.
The rearming of America was one of the most astonishing feats in all economic history. In the first six months of 1942, the government gave out 100 billion in military contracts— more than the entire GDP of 1940. In the war years, American industry turned out 6.500 naval vessels; 296,400 airplanes; 86,330 tanks; 64,546 landing craft; 3.5 million jeeps, trucks, and personnel carriers; 53 million deadweight tons of cargo vessels; 12 million rifles,carbines, and machine guns; and 47 million tons of artillery shells, together with millions of tons of uniforms, boots, medical supplies, tents and a thousand other items needed to fight a modern war.
We weren’t ready for Pearl Harbor, nor for Africa, nor the European front. We disarmed after World War II and we were once again not ready when North Korea invaded the South. We weren’t ready when Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait and we weren’t ready for 9/11. America’s national character is perhaps always ready to assume that the war just finished was the last — ever.
Does anyone assume that now, we would have six months to a year to begin to produce the necessary equipment and round up and train the necessary troops? I seem to remember Donald Rumsfeld saying, to vast scorn from the American media—”you go to war with the army you have.”
It’s quite true, and the threats don’t always come from the direction you expected. When America is perceived as weak — as we are today, and indecisive — we are in greater danger. The “Arab Spring” has “unexpectedly” not turned out to be a people seeking for freedom and democracy. Instead the goal appears to be Sharia and dictatorship. Al Qaeda is again on the rise, and we seem to be rearming them. Syria’s Assad evidently is preparing to gas his own people. And we are cancelling missile protection for Eastern Europe because Obama wants a reset button with Russia, and now has more “flexibility.”
We must remember Pearl Harbor as a warning from the past. The troubled world keeps sending us reminders, and we fail to pay attention.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, Military, The United States | Tags: Family History, The Civil War., Veterans Day 2013
Ron Radosh has a column today on a new album of the songs of the Civil War, It is called “Divided and United” as a tribute to those who lived through those terrible years of a divided nation. The artists are drawn from the best of Nashville’s talent, the traditional singers as they call themselves in opposition to “folk-singers” and try to capture the music as it was known then, from the sheet music they have.
If you click on the link just below the picture of the album, it will take you to Amazon where you can play a brief sampler of the songs. I’m going to have to get this one.
I lost two great uncles on each side of the Civil War, the Southern part of the family came from a small town in South Carolina near the Georgia border; the Northerners set out from South Carolina for Ohio Territory just after 1800. They were ardent abolitionists, and their Ohio church was a station on the underground railway.
Three brothers fought on the side of the Confederacy, one was killed in the battles around Richmond. My great grandfather and his brother-in-law took a wagon up across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to Richmond to bring his body home. The other was the only Confederate killed at Snicker’s Gap.The youngest of the Southern brothers was in the cavalry, and survived the war.
On the other side, Nathan died some time after Chickamauga, possibly from wounds from that battle, or in some other skirmish. The other I know only as “Uncle Frank” from a small Daguerreotype photo and the notation “died in the Civil War.”
Take some time to read about the Civil War. “The American Union was created by the Revolution, the American nation was forged only upon the awful anvil of the Civil War,” as John Steele Gordon wrote. The American Civil War was the largest war fought in the Western world in the century between the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815 and the outbreak of World War one on August 1, 1915.
The carnage was without precedent. On the single day of September 17, 1862, at the Battle of Antietam, the Union Army had casualties of 2,108 killed and 9,549 wounded. More casualties on that one day than in the entire Mexican War. The total military losses in the war on both sides, officially 498,333 — were more than 3 percent of the American male population in 1860, four and a half times our percentage losses in World War II.
Always unprepared for war, the federal government had been operating at a deficit since 1857. In 1860, the national debt stood at $64,844,000 and the Treasury was nearly depleted. In December of that year, as the Southern states began to secede one by one, there was at one point not even enough money on hand to meet the payroll. Three months later, at the time of the first Battle of Bull Run, the War Department alone was spending a million dollars a day.
A young banker named Jay Cooke was made the agent of the federal government to sell a new issue of bonds. He bypassed the banks, arranged for the bonds to be issued in denominations as small as $50, and sold them directly to the people. In other words, he invented the bond drive, which has supported all our wars ever since.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Middle East, Military, National Security, Progressivism, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Foreign Policy Failure, Military Readiness, White House Incompetence
General Ray Odierno, Army’s Chief of Staff told a Washington conference on Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending September 30.
He added that there are currently only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. A brigade numbers somewhere around 3,500 to 5,000 troops, commanded by a Colonel. That adds up to around 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third of what the combat veteran regards as necessary for national security. Odierno said:
Right now, we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.
Troops being deployed to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves, though there is no guarantee that they will not find themselves actually in combat, while accompanying Afghan soldiers.
Sequestration had its origins in the debt-ceiling battle of 2011. The President’s team, in an attempt to force Republicans into a compromise, devised the sequester as a sort of nuclear option. Sweeping cuts across all discretionary spending — including defense spending in a time of war, would be such a bitter pill to the Republicans, that they would fold and stop insisting on cuts in spending. Republicans took in the Obama team offer, and spat it out. The President remains furious.
Harmful automatic budget cuts — known as the sequester — threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.
These cuts will make it harder to grow our economy and create jobs by affecting our ability to invest in important priorities like education, research and innovation, public safety, and military readiness.
You have undoubtedly heard the president bragging about bringing the deficit down. Depends on who he’s trying to impress. Because the sequester is automatic for nine more years, it can only be changed or undone if both houses vote to change it. It is a powerful tool for Republican negotiators in the budget conference committee, and gives them leverage to address the real driver of the debt — entitlement spending. Left unchanged, the combined unfunded entitlements of Social Security and Medicare threaten to bankrupt the country.
Republicans are trying to save the country. Democrats are trying to win. It’s politics all the way down.
Obama has made an effort to make the cuts forced by the sequester as painful as possible, just as he did with the government shutdown.
All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.
Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.
Military planners, under directives from Defense Secretary Hagel, now anticipate administration orders to sever another 70,000 active duty Army personnel at all levels. There is apparently a purge going on of some of the nation’s top veteran generals, allegedly for personal misconduct.
It is not a peaceful world. Al Qaeda is on the rise, Bashar Assad seems to have control of Syria after gassing dissidents, the Saudis are not friendly. Egypt is no longer under the control of the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and a more friendly Army-backed government has taken over— so we have discontinued aid. Having botched Syria, botched a status of forces agreement in Iraq, Iraq is in flames again with an upsurge of al Qaeda in Iraq. So we are in peaceful conversations with Iran, the sponsor of all Middle East terrorism. Good time as any to cut back on military readiness.
Whenever wars are over, America settles back into heedless slumber, and we are never, never prepared when trouble breaks out again, as it always will.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, History, Military, The United States | Tags: Hero Flight, World War II Memorial, World War II Veterans
Barack Obama is determined to blame the Republicans for the government shutdown, but his efforts at political theater leave something to be desired.
Obama has never felt that the simple effects of law are quite enough to expose the degraded results of Republicans efforts to foil his plans. To emphasize the horrible results of the government shutdown, the Obama administration’s bright idea was to barricade national monuments to keep veterans from visiting them. These are open air monuments.
You have a lot of very ticked-off 85 and 90 year-old World War II veterans brought to Washington DC by the organizers of the Hero Flight Network, to see the World War II monument honoring their service and their losses.
After a group of veterans broke down the barricades at the national World War II Memorial Tuesday afternoon, organizers of one Hero Flight Network group told BuzzFeed it wasn’t the last Washington would hear from them. Veterans are plotting another protest at the same place Wednesday, and expressed interest in staging similar events at sites across the nation’s capital, including the Lincoln Memorial — an act of civil disobedience that would likely pour fuel on the already highly flammable politics of the government shutdown.
“We have people here that are 80 and 90 years old and they closed down all the bathrooms?” said Tony Nussbaum, a 25-year veteran of the Air Force from Iowa and a leader of the state’s Hero Flight group. “I’m about to just start pissing on the trees.”…
On Wednesday, the scene could repeat itself when groups from the Honor Flight Network — a national charity that brings aging World War II veterans to visit the national monument to the conflict they fought in — are scheduled to arrive at the massive outdoor memorial. Meanwhile, veterans have pondered staging a similar protest at the Lincoln memorial, said Jamie Miller, a five-year veteran of the Marine Corps and another organizer of the Iowa group that stormed the World War II memorial Tuesday.
Not only a dumb attempt to make veterans suffer for political theater, but how completely tacky. No class. No class at all. Misplaced priorities, as usual.
A National Park Service employee threatened to arrest the vets, many in wheelchairs. The Honor Flight is an all-expense-paid trip for the vets, many of whom have never seen the monument to their service.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Islam, Military, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Al Qaeda And Affiliates, The Battle for Syria, Weapons of Mass Destruction
Thomas Jocelyn testified yesterday to the House Committee on Homeland Security, about al Qaeda in Syria and the threat that poses to the United States. Al Qaeda affiliates and allied jihadist groups dominate the insurgency in the heart of the Middle East. The Long War Journal published his testimony.
“The situation inside Syria is grim, with a despicable tyrant on one side and a rebellion compromised by al Qaeda and like-minded extremists on the other. In between these two poles are the people who originally rose up against tyranny in search of a better life. As we’ve seen time and again in this long war, Muslims embroiled in violence in faraway lands are often the first line of defense against an ideology and an organization that pose a direct threat to the West.”
We should have no illusions about the nature of the Syrian war. What we are witnessing right now is a conflict that will have ramifications for our security in the West. The fighting in Syria and the terrorist campaign in Iraq are deeply linked, feeding off of one another in a way that increases the violence in both countries and potentially throughout the region. American interests outside of Syria have already been threatened by the war. We saw this late last year when al Qaeda repurposed a cell of Jordanian citizens who had fought in Syria for an attack inside their home country. They reportedly had the U.S. Embassy in their crosshairs and were planning a complex assault involving other targets as well. …
Al Qaeda and its extremist allies have grown much stronger since late 2011. Al Qaeda does not control the entire rebellion, which is made up of a complex set of actors and alliances. However, al Qaeda and its allies dominate a large portion of northern Syria and play a key role in the fighting throughout the rest of the country. These same al Qaeda-affiliated forces have fought alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. There is no clear geographic dividing line between the most extreme fighters and other rebels. For example, al Qaeda’s affiliates played a key role in the fighting in Latakia, an Assad stronghold on the coast, in early August. And within the past week we saw al Qaeda-affiliated fighters lead an attack in Malula, a Christian village not far from Damascus. These are just two examples chosen from many.
Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir has made the fight for Syria a strategic priority. They are political revolutionaries who are looking to establish an Islamic Emirate in the heart of the Levant. They want a state of their own — as a start. Other al Qaeda groups have joined the fight — the Taliban from Pakistan, Chechens , fighters from South Asia and North Africa, are fighting alongside each other. There is a Syrian Islamic Front that fights alongside al Qaeda. There is a direct connection between the terrorists over there and terrorists over here. Some are being repurposed for operations against the West. And al Qaeda is recruiting Westerners who can be used against their home countries. They are looking for chemical and biological weapons in Syria, and an al Nusrah Front cell has been arrested and found to be in possession of about 2 kilos of sarin gas. Iraqi officials claim to have broken up an al Qaeda cell that was seeking to launch sarin gas attacks in Iraq, Europe and possibly North America.
Do read the whole thing. These people do understand that we are in — a long war — and have been since 9/11. It is civilizational and serious and real, and we must take it seriously.
NOTE: A piece I posted on September 3 was based on an article from the Institute for the Study of War, and based on information from Elizabeth O’Bagy, who was an adviser to John Kerry and supposedly an expert on the situation in Syria. The Institute has discharged her for misrepresenting her credentials, and she is apparently involved as a lobbyist for the Free Syrian Army. So I don’t know if any of what I wrote is true, nor if the map is correct.