American Elephants

Dangerous misconceptions, enacted in a dangerous rush. by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Military, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism | Tags: ,

Obama remains in full campaign mode.  He promised to undo all the executive orders that George W. Bush signed, in his first day of office.

A week ago, former Vice President Cheney advised the incoming president  to go slowly, look carefully at the policies and institutions that the Bush administration had put in place to protect the American people, before rushing to follow through on his campaign promises to dismantle them.   President-elect Obama said on ABC’s This Week “I think that was pretty good advice, which is I should know what’s going on before we make judgments and that we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric.”

He has ordered tough new ethics rules, while his Commerce nominee has bowed out due to ethical problems, his attorney general was instrumental in pardoning a felon on the FBIs most wanted list  and pardoning Puerto Rican terrorist murderers.  His Treasury nominee, who will head the IRS,  cannot explain his tax-cheating.  His nominee for energy czar wiped clean the computers and e-mails of the EPA in direct defiance of  judicial orders, and is an official member of Socialist International.

Obama has immediately begun dismantling  executive orders, without understanding why they were made. He has ordered the Guantanamo detention center closed within a year.   He has no idea what to do with Guantanamo detainees, and has ordered the military to figure it out, without understanding that all the careful development of the detainee center in Guantanamo was in response to the complicated consequences of possible alternates.

The CIA program Obama is effectively shutting down is the reason why America has not been attacked again after 9/11.  He has removed the tool that stopped al Qaeda from flying planes into Heathrow Airport, the Library Tower in Los Angeles, London’s Canary Wharf, blowing up apartment buildings in Chicago and disrupted many, many other attacks.

Now another Guantanamo detainee, who was released in 2007 to go through rehabilitation training in Saudi Arabia, apparently flunked, for he has reemerged as a deputy al Qaeda leader in Yemen.  When he was a prisoner at Guantanamo, he claimed to be an innocent carpet buyer who was learning about urban carpet buying warfare in an al Qaeda training camp south of Kabul, Afghanistan.  Foreigners learn enough about the political correctness afflicting America  to appeal to human rights activists, who then lobby for their release.

There are those in our country, who in spite of all evidence, insist on believing the worst about America.

But now that a “progressive” is in charge, patriotism is suddenly fashionable again.  Go figure.

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.

The Benefits of Daylight Savings by American Elephant
November 2, 2008, 6:38 am
Filed under: Humor, Politics | Tags: , ,

Back in 1999, terrorists on the daylight-saving West Bank built several time bombs, delivered to co-conspirators in Israel and scheduled to explode at a set time. Problem was, Israel had just switched back to standard time, so the only people injured were the terrorists themselves when the bomb detonated an hour earlier than they expected and killed them all. [read] more]

(h/t Mark Krikorian)

The Man Obama Wants to Talk To by American Elephant


…has just announced that Isreal will soon die and disappear.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot “satanic powers” and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported. “I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene,” he said.

“Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started.”

Since taking the presidency in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly provoked international outrage by predicting Israel is doomed to disappear.

“I tell you that with the unity and awareness of all the Islamic countries all the satanic powers will soon be destroyed,” he said to a group of foreign visitors ahead of the 19th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Yes, by all means Senator Obama, legitimize this crackpot terrorist by offering him unconditional meetings with the leader of the free world. Brilliant!

Barack Obama — useful idiot.

Meanwhile, John McCain absolutely slammed Obama on Iran in front of AIPAC:

“It’s hard to see what such a summit with President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another,” McCain told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

He criticized Obama for seeming to suggest that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear program because the U.S. refuses to engage in presidential-level talks. McCain said the Clinton administration in particular tried to engage Iran for two years, even lifting some sanctions, to no avail.

“Even so, we hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before,” McCain said as dozens in the audience laughed.

You can read the entire speech here.

A Movie Hollywood Won’t Make, and Liberals Won’t Watch by American Elephant

And one people should see. Especially liberals — if only they’d pull their heads out of the sand long enough.

This is the highly anticipated “Fitna”, a short-film (15 minutes) from Dutch politician Geert Wilders. As you may recall, the Netherlands has been besieged by violence from Islamic fundamentalists angry over cartoon depictions of Mohammad and criticism of Islam. This is his answer. He describes it as “a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamization.”

YouTube cuts the film into two parts. Keep in mind, “Fitna” addresses Islamic fundamentalism and as such shows graphic violence. Powerful. Do watch.

And She Calls Herself Experienced??? by American Elephant
December 30, 2007, 3:49 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics | Tags: ,

Hillary Showcases Foreign Relations Incompetence

Hillary showcases not experience, but incompetence in response to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. John at Powerline, as he so often does, has it exactly right:

Hillary Clinton’s response to the murder is far worse. She gave an interview in Des Moines in which she attacked Musharraf’s government and called for an international inquiry:

“I’m calling for a full, independent, international investigation,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN.”I think it’s critically important that we get answers and really those are due first and foremost to the people of Pakistan,” Clinton said.

The former first lady suggested the probe could be along the lines of the international investigation that followed the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

“I don’t think the Pakistani government at this time under President (Pervez) Musharraf has any credibility at all. They have disbanded an independent judiciary, they oppressed a free press.”

This is, I think, shocking. It is hard to see how an American presidential candidate could say anything more inappropriate and destructive. Calling for an “international investigation” is a crude insult to the sovereignty of an American ally. Worse, Clinton’s suggestion that President Musharraf–an ally of the United States, and perhaps the only viable alternative, at the moment, to Taliban-like rule–has no credibility to carry out the investigation, is precisely the kind of arrogant meddling in other countries’ affairs of which Democrats like to accuse the Bush administration, falsely. [Read the rest.]


Iraq Wants America to Stay, United NATIONS to Leave by American Elephant

In a stunning rebuke of Democrat’s only stated Iraq policy preferences, the Iraqi government is expected to ask the United States to stay in Iraq, and ask the United Nations to leave.

Basically the only two suggestions Democrats have ever made: that we surrender and let the UN handle things from here, the Iraqi government says, “um, ARE YOU CRAZY???”

No, not crazy, just stunningly corrupt and monumentally wrongheaded.

According to the Associated Press, Iraq’s government will soon ask the U.S. to keep troops in that country long-term to guarantee its security against terrorists and predatory neighboring states such as Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

It’s all part of a new “strategic partnership” between the U.S. and Iraq, according to what the AP described as two “senior Iraq officials” from different political parties.

The Iraqis also will ask that the United Nations end its involvement inside the country, go home and wrap up its role in deciding Iraq’s fate — a job it has had since the first Gulf War in 1991. The U.N.’s official mandate expires next year.

All this is good news, both for Iraq and the U.S.

For Iraq, it means long-term stability for its democratically elected government and its successors; for the U.S., we gain a permanent presence in the Middle East from which to defend our interests. Both are vital for our security.

Iraq has even hinted, without saying so explicitly, that it will give the U.S. a piece of its oil pie — its reserves of 115 billion barrels are the world’s fourth-largest — in exchange for helping to protect it.

As the AP noted, the deal would “include preferential treatment for American investments” — code for putting the U.S. at the head of the line when it comes to helping Iraq’s oil industry to grow. [read more]

Democrats: wrong on every major foreign policy/national security issue since Vietnam.

Democrats’ Iraq Disaster by American Elephant

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi

Democrats oppose the war in Iraq. We all know that…now.

They were for it — when it was going well — when it was popular. But when the going got tough, as it always does in war, Democrats saw an opportunity — Democrats got going.

They campaigned in ’06 promising to change direction in Iraq. They refused to say what that new direction would be, but when they won, they nevertheless claimed a mandate to pull out of Iraq.

The problem that has arisen for Democrats since then is that America has changed course in Iraq — things have gotten dramatically better on the ground, Iraqis are joining with America to fight terrorists and insurgents alike, Iraqis who had fled are returning in droves, and violence of all kinds has dropped exponentially.

In other words, thanks to President Bush and General Petraeus, the man Democrats smeared as a liar and betrayer of the nation, we are winning! And Democrats have fought that victory kicking and screaming every step of the way.

Now the Democrats are pinning all their hopes on the heretofore “lack of political reconciliation” in Iraq. (This from the party that has blocked desperately needed energy policy, social security, healthcare and other reforms for seven years.)  But the idea that America should leave an increasingly peaceful Iraq to descend into chaos, dragging the greater middle east with it because Iraqi politicians are guilty of being not even as viciously partisan as Democrats, will never fly with the American people. Nor should it.

I have little doubt now that Iraqi leaders will work out their differences. Not simply because reports suggest that that is precisely what is going on behind the scenes, but because they must. The Iraqi people have shown by joining the fight, that they will not accept anything less.

The fact is that Democrats have completely boxed themselves in.

They have proven with their opportunistic vacillating that they are unfit to command the nation’s defenses. National security requires strength and resolve. Democrats have exposed themselves as weak and untrustworthy.

They long ago declared the increasingly successful war, “lost”. They have since done nearly everything in their power to bring about that result. They branded the highly successful surge a “failure”.

President Bush and Republicans are on the way to turning an avowed enemy of the United States with the capability to produce and disperse WMD into a moderate democracy and ally to America.

Democrats will never be able to claim any responsibility for success in Iraq — they are long past the point of no return on that flip-flop. And most importantly, the American people will hold them responsible for trying their best to scuttle it.

“Kharma” is coming for the Democrats, and it’s not happy.

Democrats Embrace Failed Abu Ghraib General, Trash Successful One by American Elephant
November 28, 2007, 5:13 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

General Ricardo Sanchez

Jack Kelly makes an excellent point on Real Clear Politics.

In rebuttal to President Bush’s weekly radio address thanking the troops for their service (yes, apparently Democrats felt that gratitude required a rebuttal), Democrats had retired 3-star General Ricardo Sanchez criticize what is now almost universally recognized as monumental progress in Iraq as a failure, and call for America to leave Iraq. (This just as Iraq is about to ask the US to stay)

General Sanchez, Kelley points out, was forced to retire (translation: fired) because he was the General in charge of the Abu Ghraib fiasco and was also the General in charge of operations in Iraq when the insurgency took root.

So here we have Democrats putting forth the man who is in large part responsible for our most grievous failures in Iraq as their spokesman just shortly after viciously smearing and trashing General David Petraeus as a liar. Petraeus is the General responsible for cleaning up after Sanchez, responsible for perhaps the most successful counter-insurgency ever, and who is currently winning the war.

Democrats once again prove they are determined to undermine America for their own political gain at any cost.

I encourage you to read Kelly’s entire piece here.

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?

America Loses Key Ally by Emerald City Elephant
November 27, 2007, 4:43 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics | Tags:

Australian Prime Minister John Howard

In case you missed it, Australia just held elections this past Saturday, and after an eleven-year run (the second longest in that nation’s history), Prime Minister John Howard and his ruling Liberal party were defeated by a healthy 7% margin.

Howard, a strong conservative, has been a stalwart ally of the United States, especially in the war on terror and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has led Australia into a robust economy with full employment and a stunning 11 consecutive years of growth.

If Americans could elect foreign born presidents, John Howard, not Schwarzenegger, is the man I would want to recruit.

Howard’s replacement, the Labour Party’s Kevin Rudd, has apparently committed to pulling Australia’s troops slowly from Iraq, beginning in 2008. (The election had very little to do with Iraq and more to do wtih a desire for change after 11 years of the same leader) The editors at national Review suggest Rudd’s domestic policies will resemble those of Tony Blair in Great Britain — not good news for Australia if you ask me.

John Howard was a great friend of the United States, an outspoken ally, and a great leader of the Australian people. For that we are VERY grateful and very sorry to see him go!

Top Democrat Blasts Democrat Party Over Partisan-Driven Foreign Policy by American Elephant

Senator Joe Lieberman

Says Democrats are betraying principles, poisoning politics, and undermining America’s interests for partisan gain.

The man the Democrat party so respected and admired that they made him their Vice-Presidential nominee just a few short years ago, has leveled a scathing rebuke at the Democrat party for abandoning the principles of Truman, Roosevelt and Kennedy, betraying America’s interests and poisoning the American political atmosphere for political gain. He has blasted the Democrat base for their hate-driven “paranoia…delusion and deception.”…

In other words Senator Lieberman (who was overwhelmingly re-elected by his home state of Connecticut despite an attempt by radical leftists to throw him out) has admitted what all Republicans and thinking-independents have known for a long time — Democrats intentionally changed their position on Iraq for partisan gain when the going got tough and have since done everything in their power to undermine the war effort and tear apart the country for their own political gain:

“Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically-elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush.

Iraq has become the singular litmus test for Democratic candidates. No Democratic presidential primary candidate today speaks of America’s moral or strategic responsibility to stand with the Iraqi people against the totalitarian forces of radical Islam, or of the consequences of handing a victory in Iraq to Al Qaeda and Iran. And if they did, their campaign would be as unsuccessful as mine was in 2006. Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus’ new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that that progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there.

Part of the explanation for this, I think, comes back to ideology. For all of our efforts in the 1990s to rehabilitate a strong Democratic foreign policy tradition, anti-war sentiment remains the dominant galvanizing force among a significant segment of the Democratic base.

But another reason for the Democratic flip-flop on foreign policy over the past few years is less substantive. For many Democrats, the guiding conviction in foreign policy isn’t pacifism or isolationism—it is distrust and disdain of Republicans in general, and President Bush in particular.

In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the President that defined Republicans in the 1990s – even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats as a party have stood for, at our best and strongest…

First, several left-wing blogs seized upon the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, offering wild conspiracy theories about how it could be used to authorize the use of military force against Iran.

These were absurd arguments. The text of our amendment contained nothing—nothing—that could be construed as a green light for an attack on Iran. To claim that it did was an act of delusion or deception.

On the contrary, by calling for tougher sanctions on Iran, the intention of our amendment was to offer an alternative to war.

Nonetheless, the conspiracy theories started to spread. Although the Senate passed our amendment, 76-22, several Democrats, including some of the Democratic presidential candidates, soon began attacking it — and Senator Clinton, who voted for the amendment. In fact, some of the very same Democrats who had cosponsored the legislation in the spring, urging the designation of the IRGC, began denouncing our amendment for doing the exact same thing…

there is something profoundly wrong—something that should trouble all of us—when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.

There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base—even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.

For me, this episode reinforces how far the Democratic Party of 2007 has strayed from the Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and the Clinton-Gore administration.

That is why I call myself an Independent Democrat today. It is because my foreign policy convictions are the convictions that have traditionally animated the Democratic Party—but they exist in me today independent of the current Democratic Party, which has largely repudiated them.” [read more] Continue reading


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