American Elephants

Did Obama Learn Nothing from 9/11? by The Elephant's Child

Obama made a big deal during the campaign about Guantanamo. He thought he had an issue that would get him votes.  On his second day in office, he signed an executive order that Guantanamo would be closed within a year.  At the time, he had not visited Guantanamo, and I would venture, though I don’t know, that he has never met anyone who has visited Guantanamo.  It was simply another bold step in his campaign to defeat George W. Bush for the Presidency.

The problem was that he had no idea what to do with the detainees.  None.  The “outrage” about Guantanamo comes from the detainees, who were trained to tell anyone they could that they were abused and the guards really, really mistreated them.

Osama bin Laden is many things, but he’s not a dummy.  Even in the remote villages of Afghanistan, they know that the Americans are ever-so-sensitive to charges of abuse.  Everyone who visits (except the radical lawyers representing detainees) comments on what a model prison it is, and the honorable treatment by the staff in spite of constant provocation.  Treatment of detainees meets the standards of the Geneva Conventions, just as  George W. Bush ordered long ago.

Under the new “Global Justice” Initiative, the FBI will now have a central role in global counter-terrorism operations. The FBI seemingly doesn’t have enough on their plate with ordinary federal crime and desperately trying to track down domestic terrorists and foil their plots.  The role of the CIA and other intelligence agencies will diminish.  I mean, who knows what the evil CIA has been up to?

FBI agents will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to insure that criminal prosecutions are an option. Does no one realize that 9/11 was a failure of our reliance on the criminal justice system? And is it really a good idea for terrorists to have “the right to remain silent?”

The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement.  The Justice Department  has quietly ordered FBI agents to start giving Miranda warnings to captured alien combatant terrorists.

You’ve heard them hundreds of times on TV.  “You have the right to remain silent…”  They are doing this to insure that captured terrorists can be prosecuted in court. But this does not guarantee that they can be convicted, and if they are not convicted — what then?  Are they released into the United States? Or if not, where? Back to the battlefield to kill American soldiers?

ABC  News’ Jake Tapper asked about that.  Will the Obama administration free Ahmed Ghailani (the first terrorist brought to the US to be tried) if he is found not guilty?  He asked it several times in yesterday’s press conference, but Robert Gibbs said “he wasn’t going to get into hypotheticals about how something may or may not play out.”

This has to be embarrassing for President Obama. Candidate Obama and new President Obama scoffed at claims that he wanted foreign terrorists to get Miranda protection on capture.  You can find him saying so on YouTube.  The confusion about what are military matters and what are legal matters is forcing Obama into an awkward corner.  He wants to be sure that he appears more, um, pristine than President Bush and Darth Vader who tortured everybody, you know.  If he cannot continue to remind everyone of how evil BushCheneyRumsfeld were, then people might not hate Republicans enough to reelect him.

Minor matters like protecting the American people no longer seem so important.  With Bush out of the picture, then there won’t be any more terrorism, for surely young Muslim men flocked to bin Laden training camps only because they were radicalized by all the torture Bush did, or something like that.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. He said “The problem is you take that guy at three in the morning off of a compound right outside of Kabul where he’s building bomb materials to kill US soldiers, and read him his rights by four, and the Red Cross is saying take the lawyer — you have now created quite a confusion amongst the FBI, the CIA and the United States military.  And confusion is the last thing you want in a combat zone.”

The Democrats’ story has long been (once 9/11 began to fade) that there wasn’t really any danger from terrorism,  it was just the Republicans trying to scare us.   But they have never been much interested in consequences.

Pirates and Terrorists and What to Do About Them. by The Elephant's Child
December 11, 2008, 12:40 am
Filed under: Africa, Foreign Policy, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

In the news today, a cruise line disembarked its passengers in Yemen, and flew them farther down the African coast to avoid encountering Somali pirates. Last week pirates fired on a US cruise ship carrying hundreds of passengers as it steamed across the Gulf of Aden on a 32 day cruise from Rome to Singapore. This is serious trouble.

The International Maritime Bureau has estimated that more than 100 ships have been attacked off Somalia by seagoing pirates since January.  At least 14 ships and 250 crew members are still being held for ransom.  I wrote about the attack on the Saudi oil tanker on November 18, here. There was another attack the next day, on another ship.

So why are we letting them get away with it?  How can we allow them to hold 250 crew members prisoner, for ransom?  Bret Stephens explained in the Wall Street Journal, in a splendid essay called “Why Don’t We Hang Pirates Anymore?Mr. Stephens explains how we got to the point where there is, as  senior U.S. military officials indicate “no controlling legal authority”.  We have, evolved perhaps, beyond the 18th century when we could just hang them from the yardarm.  And this is not entirely a positive development.  It is a lot more complicated to be “humane warriors”, as we are, and it makes the world less secure.

Max Boot takes up the problem of pirates and terrorism and failed states, also in the Wall Street Journal.  How do we bring the rule of law to lawless states with no real governance?  There is a vast difference between a war on another state, if it comes to that, and a war against a terrorist enemy that minds no rules of engagement, no international conventions, and is just a menace to international security.

The African Union peacekeepers have been ineffective in dealing with the genocide in Darfur, nor has NATO been effective in trying to get member states to live up to their commitments in Afghanistan.  As Mr. Boot says “If NATO won’t do enough to win the war in Afghanistan, its highest priority, there is scant chance that it will commit troops to police Pakistan’s tribal areas or Somalia’s coast.  And if NATO members won’t act, who will?”

These latter two essays address the essence of some of our problems in the Middle East that are poorly understood here at home.  The alert attention that we paid to international terrorism has faded as news from the Middle East has tapered off, and we have been safe for the past seven years in America.  We forget that our safety has been the result of a lot of hard work by our security forces, as other portions of the world come under attack.  We ignore the threat, which is real, and pick at the niggling details of the security that protects us.

In the absence of other solutions, shipping companies are turning to security firms like Blackwater to cope with the Somali pirates.  Blackwater said that their 183-foot ship McArthur stands ready to assist the shipping industry as it struggles with the problem of piracy.  The ship has state-of-the-art navigation systems, full Global Maritime Distress and Safety System communications, command and control battlefield air support, helicopter decks, a hospital, multiple support vessel capabilities, and a crew of 45 highly trained professionals.

Bret Stephens said in his article: “All this legal exquisiteness stands in contrast to what was once a more robust attitude.” That sums up the situation nicely.  We need to think seriously about what it means.

Indictments Loom For Spitzer by American Elephant

Word was that Elliot Spitzer was withholding his resignation in an attempt to use it to finagle a plea-bargain with the feds. I don’t see how with such a seemingly clear-cut case against him, he had a leg to stand on, nevertheless, stranger things have happened.

I’m glad to see the government didn’t play along:

It was a rare and unequivocal declaration by U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia: “There is no agreement between this office and Gov. Eliot Spitzer, relating to his resignation or any other matter.”

It would have been outrageous had they. Fortunately, Spitzer faces the following possible charges:

  • Money laundering for trying to conceal the source and recipient of financial transactions.
  • Tax evasion, if he was a knowing party to an all-cash business that wasn’t filing taxes.
  • Violation of the Mann Act for paying for the trip from New York to D.C. by the call girl known as “Kristen.”
  • Misuse of state resources, if he used his state-issued credit card for hotels or meals with prostitutes as well as if he was being protected by State Troopers during his dalliances.
  • And finally, soliciting prostitution.

There’s also the question of whether Spitzer used campaign funds for these trysts, which opens up a whole other litany of charges from fraud to federal election violations. [read more]

So, no, it’s not just about sex.

Governor Elliot Spitzer — Poster Child for Democrat “Integrity” by American Elephant

Democrat Governor Elliot Spitzer got a little lost on the way to “Responsibility Road.” Picking up prostitutes on “Trustworthy Turnpike”, laundering money on “Honesty Road”, and evading taxes on “Integrity Lane”…

Yeah, that pretty much sums up Democrat integrity.

Over 300 investigations fishing-expeditions yielding absolutely squat into demonstrably phony charges trumped up against the Bush administration. Yet when the man they hold up as a “rising star”, and man of “law and order” is caught hiring hookers, laundering money and evading taxes, their silence is deafening.

More later.

Terrorists Target Army Base — in Arizona by American Elephant
November 28, 2007, 4:14 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy | Tags: , ,

fort huachuca

Frightening story from the Washington Times:

Fort Huachuca, the nation’s largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort officials changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were to be smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high-powered weapons to attack the Arizona Army base, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.

A portion of the operatives were in the United States, with the remainder not yet in the United States,” according to one of the documents, an FBI advisory that was distributed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, among several other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation… [read the whole thing]

So now we know terrorists are indeed entering the country through the pourous Mexican border with the intent to kill Americans.

Um, can we secure the border now?

These are illegal? by American Elephant
November 4, 2007, 4:36 am
Filed under: Pop Culture, Science/Technology | Tags:

Then clearly we need to change some laws!

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2 — One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.

“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.

Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius. [read more]

Now you know what’s on my Christmas list.

Until then, feel free to forward your friends, family and coworkers a copy of these Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette.

The Company Democrats Keep by American Elephant

Hillary Clinton with Sandy Berger

The treasonous Sandy Berger (Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser, and John Kerry’s former campaign adviser), who stole national security documents and destroyed them to prevent the American people from ever learning the truth about the Clinton administration’s negligence and incompetence in dealing with terrorism, is once again advising top Democrats:

WASHINGTON – Sandy Berger, who stole highly classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, destroyed them and lied to investigators, is now an adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Berger, who was fired from John Kerry’s presidential campaign when the scandal broke in 2004, has assumed a similar role in Clinton’s campaign, even though his security clearance has been suspended until September 2008. This is raising eyebrows even among Clinton’s admirers.

“It shows poor judgment and a lack of regard for Berger’s serious misdeeds,” said law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University, who nonetheless called Clinton “by far the most impressive candidate in the Democratic field.” [read more]

Without even getting into the non-stop orgy of corruption that marked the previous Clinton administration, this is the same Hillary Clinton who recently appointed the criminal Alcee Hastings as the co-chair of her national campaign.

Lest  you forget, Alcee Hastings was a federal judge impeached by the House of Representatives in a nearly-unanimous 413-3 vote for soliciting bribes from the federal bench and for perjury. Hastings was convicted by the Senate on 8 counts — only the 6th federal judge in American history to be impeached.

Naturally Democrats did the only thing they could do with such a heinously corrupt man — they elected him to congress — where he is a member of the Democratic leadership to this day.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. I couldn’t agree more. Republicans kick corrupt members out, Democrats elect them, re-elect them, promote them to leadership, hire them as advisers and elect them president.

Republicans lost power in 2006 for the corruption of a few members, all of whom they immediately kicked out. Democrats lost power in 1992 for widespread corruption and almost all the same Democrats are still in power today, only now they have titles like Chairman, Leader and Speaker.

Thats why Democrats are the masters of corruption, and why it has long been said that Americans get the leaders they deserve.

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