American Elephants

As We Celebrate Independence Day, Give Some Thought to Those Who are Fighting on Our Behalf by The Elephant's Child

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi said that ISIS is close to defeat in Mosul and close to being driven out of Iraq, after Iraq’s military seized a mosque in the city were the extremist group’s leader first proclaimed a caliphate. Col. Ryan Dillon, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S. led coalition said that the fighting should be over in a matter of days, and then it would take time to clear the area of Islamic State holdouts. Progress has been steady, but there is still tough fighting ahead.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State that had peaked at about 1,500 volunteers per month has declined to fewer than 100.

More than 60 countries have been contributing to an INTERPOL database information about citizens known to have fought for ISIS. McGurk said the list is up to 14,000 names “and continues to grow.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is going to focus on killing remaining foreign fighters in the Islamic State. “Because the foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit, wherever. Those foreign fighters are a threat,” he said. “So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.”

More can be found here.

As we turn our attention to the Fourth of July and fireworks, picnics and barbecues, we do need to remember that some Americans under arms are still fighting to free us from ISIS and it’s terrorism.

A Few Appropriate Words from Charles Krauthammer. by The Elephant's Child
July 2, 2009, 12:22 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East | Tags: , ,

Charles Krauthammer said something important last night, as he often does.  He spoke about Obama’s remarks as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities yesterday:

He referred to what we have achieved as a “sovereign, stable, self-reliant” Iraq.  He left out one word, and he left it out because it was a George Bush word —democracy.  That was a Bush idea — to implant a democracy in Iraq.

If we had wanted to have merely a sovereign, stable self-reliant Iraq, we could have chosen a Saddamist general to succeed Saddam after the war and gotten out.

It’s true that the democracy established here is a fragile one.  It’s still struggling, and we will argue for decades over whether it was worth the 4,000 American lives, as we still argue half a century later whether or not it was worth 36,000 lives to salvage a democracy in half of the Korean Peninsula.

Nonetheless, it [Iraq] is a democracy, and that’s what makes it unique and distinctive, and an amazing achievement in a sea of autocracies and dictatorships — having an effect, by example, on Lebanon, on the Gulf states, and even on Iran, where Iranians look to their west and see a country which is also Shiite, Arab, (which the Persians consider culturally inferior), and yet it has a democracy, it has elections, it has an Ayatollah Sistani who says the clerics ought to stay out of politics, and the Iranians are living under a sixth-century dictatorship run by mullahs.

So it’s a remarkable achievement, and we ought to emphasize what we have achieved in terms of democracy.

And it’s a pity that the president ignores that because the democratic nature of Iraq will establish the basis for a strategic alliance between America and Iraq in the future.

So well done, President Bush, and well done, U.S. troops.  You have accomplished wonders that seemed, for a time, impossible.   And well done, Mr. Krauthammer, for pointing it out so gracefully.

War and Peace, Judgment and Consequences. by The Elephant's Child

Today is the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq five years ago. The moonbats are out supposedly protesting the war, but in reality protesting America, President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The peace movement is neo-Communist, and has very little to do with peace. Peace is a tactical ideal and an ideological response to the perceived failures of American society. Activists use reactions to the war as a way to encourage radical political change at home. ANSWER is the largest of the groups, but there is also United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, Not In Our Name, the Green Party and the Institute for Policy Studies. They have a deep hostility to any use of American power. The kerfuffle in Washington D.C. can be seen in all its glory here.

President Bush gave a speech at the Pentagon. He recalled the invasion and the fight with Saddam’s army, and then moved on to the post-war phase, acknowledging that it has been more difficult and taken longer than expected. But al Qaeda staked everything on driving us out of Iraq. The President said:

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around — it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror. For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al Qaeda rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his murderous network. And the significance of this development cannot be overstated.

The terrorist movement feeds on a sense of inevitability, and claims to rise on the tide of history. The accomplishments of the surge in Iraq are exposing this myth and discrediting the extremists. When Iraqi and American forces finish the job, the effects will reverberate far beyond Iraq’s borders.

It is worth reading the whole speech which can be found here.

Barack Obama also gave a speech today on Iraq wherein he attempted to show his superior judgment of being against the war while he was still in the Illinois legislature. He began with a quotation from Woodrow Wilson about ‘never going to war unless you must’ by a president who led us into a European war in which we had no national interest.

He went on to say that there was “no hard evidence that Iraq had those stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction”, apparently unaware that President Bush never claimed that Iraq had stockpiles of anything, but that it was important to prevent Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons, something we knew he was anxious to do.

And what would Barack Obama do in the oval office? When our inspectors were expelled from Iraq in December of 1998, they concluded that Iraq was still withholding drawings showing the latest state of its nuclear weapons design. They also found that Iraq was withholding and not accounting for documents, materials and equipment belonging to its most advanced nuclear weapon design team. They determined that Iraq had an efficient nuclear bomb design. Every Western intelligence agency told us that Iraq was producing or could immediately resume production of chemical and biological weapons. We had reports of materials that Iraq had procured. We had information that Iraq continued to buy prohibited weapons components in spite of sanctions. Iraq was also shooting daily at our planes patrolling the no-fly-zones. Is it really good judgment to announce that you oppose a war to keep America safe?

Barack says that the war has lasted longer than World War I, World War II, and the Civil War. That is true. What is the proper length for a war? The Cold War lasted over 50 years. Barak demonstrates his ignorance of what the war is about by repeating the common liberal idiocy that it is only a war against Osama bin Laden and should take place in Afghanistan.

“In 2oo2, when the fateful decisions about Iraq were made, there was a President for whom ideology overrode pragmatism, and there were too many politicians in Washington who spent too little time reading the intelligence reports, and too much time reading public opinion. The lesson of Iraq is that when we are making decisions about matters as grave as war, we need a policy rooted in reason and facts, not ideology and politics.” Barack said.

The editors of The New Republic (hardly a publication of the vast right-wing conspiracy) said at the time:

It has been a long time since this journal felt so despondent about the Democratic Party. The United States is today engaged in perhaps the most important foreign policy debate in a generation. In response to a reverberating catastrophe and a terrifying threat, the administration of George W. Bush has proposed a radical new doctrine to govern America’s role in the world, one that commits the United States to war in Iraq and perhaps beyond… Retired American diplomats and generals worry that war with Iraq could radicalize much of the Muslim world. The highbrow press increasingly writes and talks of little else. And yet with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman, the leaders of the Democratic Party have nothing serious to say.

Oh, the party leaders speak: They appear on talk shows; they write op-eds; they convene congressional hearings. But most of what they say is best understood as highly articulate evasiveness. They have devised a series of formulations designed to make the party appear to be offering a clear response to the president’s proposed war, when it is actually doing the opposite….The Democrats are a party of bystanders, a party without a position on the issue that matters most.

Barack claims that the war has made us less safe, but while Islamist attacks have occurred all over Europe, and in much of the world, there have been no successful attacks in the United States. “We still have the wrong strategy” Barak says, in spite of its evident success. It is quite possible for someone who does not have access to intelligence reports to gain an understanding of what the war is about, who we are fighting, and why. Unfortunately, the party of bystanders is not interested in gaining that understanding. Judgment? No. Barack Obama’s Iraq speech is available here.

You might be interested in what Newt Gingrich has to say:

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