Obama’s delusional demand for Air Force a gift for ISIL

Obama hands AP image

President Obama has a demand for U.S. Air Force personnel that is so delusional that it is hard not to question his mental health. The Islamic State group hides among civilians. It holds large swathes of territory in Iraqi and Syrian cities. Mr. Obama, however, expects the U.S. Air Force to prosecute an air campaign with zero civilian casualties.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, told the Washington Free Beacon Nov. 18 that roughly 75 percent of the clear shots on ISIL targets are called off due to the president’s rules of engagement.

“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Rep. Royce, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”

Things got downright scary when retired four-star U.S. general Jack Keane detailed the president’s impossible demand:

He told the Free Beacon:

“When we agreed we were going to do air power and the military said, this is how it would work, he [Obama] said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties.’ And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’ [Obama’s response], ‘No, you don’t understand. I want no civilian casualties. Zero.’ So that has driven our so-called rules of engagement to a degree we have never had in any previous air campaign from desert storm to the present.”

If the president of the United States is not willing to seriously use ground troops — if he is reliant on air strikes for his anti-ISIL strategy to succeed — he cannot realistically ask the U.S. Air Force for zero civilian casualties.

Mr. Obama is either completely detached from reality, or militarily twiddling his thumbs until his time in office ends. Instead of showing real leadership against an enemy who quickly adapts to changing battlefield conditions, the president seems content to vote “present” on the world stage.

The safety and security of the American people has now been abdicated to men like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Obama asked for an then accepted a job he was ill-equipped to handle. His fantasy-land demands for the U.S. military will result in dead Americans (possibly on U.S. soil), and when that happens much of the blame will rest on his shoulders.

French father tells son ‘flowers’ stop terror; ISIS school hands kids guns

A French father tells his young child that “flowers” can protect him from the Islamic State group. A teacher at a school run by ISIL hands children guns and instructs them to kill infidels.

Question: At what point does a man’s “peace at any cost” rhetoric become delusional, dangerous, and downright insulting to those who provide for the common defense?

French father flowersFrench father flowers 2French father flowers 3French flowers.jpgISIS Afghanistan schoolISIS Afghanistan infidel

The first interview came from Le Petit Journal. The second story comes from Frontline PBS’ “ISIS in Afghanistan.” In both cases, however, we see men at the far ends of an ideological spectrum.

In the case of the French father mourning last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, he does a disservice to the child by inculcating a worldview that flat-out rejects the need for those who put their lives on the line to secure peace.

French SWAT doors

The death count in France stands at 129. How many more would have died if brave S.W.A.T. teams weren’t willing to charge into a room with men unloading AK-47s?

Police didn’t storm into the Bataclan concert hall with flowers — they went in with armor and their own weapons.

It is possible to ease a scared child’s mind without filling it with symbolic messages John Lennon would cheer after an acid trip.

Whether America and its allies want to admit it or not, we are in a clash of civilizations. World history is littered with lawlessness and tyranny. Western Civilization helped spark a period of time where universal human rights and the rule of law actually mattered. Freedom and liberty were never preserved by men with flowers because we live in a fallen world, and that is not about to change in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

In order to maintain history’s few outposts of freedom, we will need to raise men and women who are up to task. Teaching children there is nothing worth fighting and dying for is a surefire recipe for failure.

Paris terror attacks expose idiocy of American college activists, ‘safe spaces’ for ‘hurtful’ words

Paris attack emergency workers

American college students spent the last week demanding “safe spaces” on campuses because people can be jerks — and then the Paris terror attacks exposed them all as a bunch of pathetic babies.

A university president resigned on Monday because a bunch of sheltered kids didn’t realize human beings were capable of doing something as bizarre as scrawling “poo-swastikas” on bathroom walls — and then a group of terrorists slaughtered over 100 innocent people across Paris.

Reuters reported Friday:

For the second time in less than a year, France and the world are asking how carnage could strike at the heart of this much-loved city, including at a concert hall barely a few hundred steps from January’s deadly attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

“As we went to our car we saw dozens of people running out of the Bataclan,” local resident Caterina Giardino, an Italian national, said of the 19th century theatre-turned-music venue where gunman clad in black systematically killed nearly 100.

“Many of them were covered with blood, people were screaming,” she added, sitting on a bench with a friend as she recalled how one young man emerged from the concert hall with the bloody imprint of a hand on his shirt.

The exact sequence of gun and bomb assaults on the concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants in the French capital that left at least 120 dead is still unclear. …

For his government, as for the French, the coming days are likely to raise as many questions as answers.

To add insult to injury, ABC News aired Millennials’ favorite politician, President Barack Obama, hours earlier saying ISIL was “contained.” (The segment was taped on Thursday.)

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.” — Barack Obama. Nov. 13, 2015. ABC News, Good Morning America.

Regular readers of this blog will note that it was only two days ago that I said, “Sometimes, people say mean things. It apparently hurts [Ithaca college students’] feelings more than it hurts the skulls and spinal cords of gay men thrown off tall buildings by the Islamic State group in Syria. And so, there must be a “no confidence” vote in Ithaca College president Tom Rochon.

France1

Mark Steyn echoed this sentiment Friday in his excellent piece “The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates.”

Twenty-four hours ago, I said on the radio apropos the latest campus “safe space” nonsense: This is what we’re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.

Almost. When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

#PrayForMizzou. #BringBackourGirls. #MillionStudentMarch. #Kony2012.

The Twitter hashtag can be leveraged to disseminate important information and inspire people to action, but most Americans simply use it to convey that they care. They really, really care. Unfortunately for them, solving complex problems require more than just words. It requires action, sacrifice, and an ability to deal with conflict, which is something “safe space” junkies are not willing to provide.

If you get a chance, pray for the victims of the Paris terror attack — but do it alone in your room at night and then don’t tell anyone about it. In short, do the exact opposite with college activists standing in the middle of a quad with a bullhorn typically do. You’ll be glad you did.

Taliban seize major city; Barack Can-we-leave-yet? Obama shrugs shoulders

Kunduz

The world is seeing what happens when a U.S. commander in chief decides the only thing he wants to be transparent about is his desire to leave fragile Middle Eastern countries alone with a rogues’ gallery of Islamic radical groups and nation states.

President Obama failed to renew a status of forces agreement with Iraq and pulled all U.S. troops out of the country in Dec. 2011, despite the risk of losing everything Americans fought and died for over the course of a decade. Al Qaeda in Iraq essentially mutated into the Islamic State group, and the country is a mess. (We won’t even talk about the president’s “red lines” in Syria, which turned into “red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.)

CNN reported Monday on a preview of what is to come if Mr. Obama exits too quickly in Afghanistan:

The loss of the major city of Kunduz to the Taliban is a stunning reversal for the Afghan government, deepening worries about the ability of its security forces to take the fight to the Islamic militants. …

It’s the biggest Taliban victory since 2001. …

The loss of Kunduz, even if the Afghan government manages to take it back soon, is an ominous sign. It’s Afghanistan’s fifth largest city and the capital of the province of the same name.

“This is the biggest town they’ve been able to take since 2001,” said Nic Robertson, CNN’s international diplomatic editor. “This is a significant target and prize for the Taliban.” …

The Taliban’s intent to try to take Kunduz was well flagged, and yet Afghan forces were unable to hold the city despite outnumbering the attackers. “Since about April this year, the Taliban increased their strength in the countryside to the north of Kunduz and have essentially had it in their sights since then,” Robertson said.

The militant group hasn’t had the easiest year. ISIS has been reported to be eating into its recruitment efforts in Afghanistan, and internal divisions in the Taliban were laid bare after the admission that longtime leader Mullah Omar had died more than two years ago.

But despite initial questions over whether the group would fall apart, new leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour appears to have overcome the bumpy start and can now point to big blow against the Afghan government in Kunduz.

Mr. Obama does not get animated about very much, but conversations on leaving Afghanistan as soon as possible always seemed to perk him up. The White House was forced to delay its plan to have roughly 5,500 troops in country by the end of 2015 at the behest of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, but he still insisted the U.S. basically reach “embassy center presence” by the end of his term in office. How convenient.

Do you notice a trend with the president when it comes to Iraq, Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and Afghanistan? He rushes to meet political objectives despite overwhelming evidence that keeping promises made on the campaign trail prior to his 2008 election will create national security nightmares in the long run.

A leader — a true leader — is willing to make decisions that will gut him politically if the alternative is a substantially more dangerous world. Look at Yemen, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan and then compare where they are today with where they were in 2008. There is no way to objectively look at those countries — and the millions of refugees fleeing the Middle East and northern Africa — and conclude the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been a success.

President Obama expresses frustration March 24, 2015 that his attempts to run from Afghanistan with a come-what-may attitude are being thwarted by harsh reality. (Image: CNN screenshot)
President Obama expresses frustration March 24, 2015 that his attempts to run from Afghanistan with a come-what-may attitude are being thwarted by harsh reality. (Image: CNN screenshot)

Obama plan for Islamic State: ‘It will be up to the next administration,’ source tells Daily Beast

Islamic State group APIt’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Obama administration. The Islamic State group took control of Palmyra in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq. With each passing day the White House’s objective to “degrade and destroy” the Sunni terrorist group sounds more delusional, which begs the question: What the heck is going on?

According to multiple security officials who spoke with the Daily Beast, the White House’s primary goal is just to pass the baton to the next guy.

Senior national security correspondent Nancy Youssef reported Friday:

The self-proclaimed Islamic State has claimed a major provincial capital in Iraq and taken over another strategically key city in Syria. In response, the Obama administration plans to do—well, not much of anything new.

Four defense officials told The Daily Beast that there’s still strong resistance within the Obama administration to making any serious changes to the current strategy for fighting ISIS—despite mounting skepticism from some in the Pentagon about the current U.S. approach to the war.

Although the Obama administration’s public messaging is that it still wants to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS, in reality, many in the Pentagon view the real objective as just running out the clock.

“I think this is driven by a sense that this not our fight and so we are just going to try to contain it and have influence where we can,” one official who works closely on the military strategy explained to The Daily Beast. “This is a long fight, and it will be up to the next administration to tackle.”

Rather than aiming for a decisive victory, the U.S. approach has devolved into simply maintaining a low boil in perpetuity. …

“It’s a political response,” one official explained. “They are doing ‘something’ to inoculate themselves from substantial criticism.”

There is a word to describe the president’s foreign policy right now: terrifying.

Mr. Obama is moving pieces around the global chess board, but he has no idea what he is doing and only hopes that he can survive long enough for someone else to take his seat at the table. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner (he was nominated less than two weeks after he took office) is piddling around playing politics while a terrorist group is using truck bombs that can take out entire city blocks to gain territory. Meanwhile, the media takes up multiple news cycles discussing the sick details of Josh Duggar’s past — elevating the criminal behavior of a TLC reality show star above an army of Islamic radicals that controls most of Syria and large swathes of Iraq.

Say what you will about former President George W. Bush, but the man didn’t give a rip about political repercussions when he ordered the surge in 2007. While Senator Harry Reid was literally surrendering on live television, Mr. Bush essentially told the military to do whatever it needed to do to stabilize Iraq before he left office — and it delivered. When Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno looked at Iraq prior to U.S. troops leaving in 2011, he saw a country that was incredibly fragile, but he was optimistic about the future.

Military Times reported Friday:

Odierno said he was most optimistic about Iraq’s future in September 2010, as he prepared to relinquish command of U.S. forces in theater.

“I felt very good about Iraq, and I felt we were absolutely on the right track,” he said.

But Iraq’s leaders have not been able to overcome the mistrust they have between the different sects, he said.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to me, personally, what I’ve watched happen,” he said. “I really believed, at that time [in 2010], that in five years or so, Iraq would be doing very well. But, frankly, they fractured.”

Sadly, Mr. Obama does not have the backbone of George W. Bush or the honor to fall on his political sword if it will set future presidents — and by extension America — up for success.

2016 cannot come soon enough.

Obama hands AP image

Yemen falls into ‘complete chaos’; Josh Earnest goes full ‘Baghdad Bob’

Josh EarnestYears ago the American people made fun of “Baghdad Bob’s” attempts to convince the world that American troops were not closing in on the nation’s capital, even though Marines were only blocks away. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, was a joke. Today, Americans should hang their head in shame because they have their own Baghdad Bob — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Yemen is spiraling out of control — its president abandoned ship and U.S. special operations forces had to be evacuated this past weekend — and yet Mr. Earnest still maintained Wednesday that the Obama administration considers its efforts there to be a resounding success.

Mediaite reported March 25:

John Karl: Just a quick one first on Yemen. I know you’re asked this after every time something terrible happens in Yemen, but now that we have, you know, essentially complete chaos in Yemen, does the White House still believe Yemen is the model for a counterterrorism strategy?

Josh Earnest: John, the White House does continue to believe that a successful counter terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government, to have local fighters on the ground take the fight to extremists in their own country. And the United States can serve both to diplomatically offer up some support to central governments. We can offer very tangible support to local security forces in the form of training and equipping. And we can also support the operations of those security forces … whether it’s the deployment of ISR capability or, in the case of Iraq, military airstrikes. And that is a template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat that we face from extremists in places like Yemen and Somalia — and is a template that we believe can succeed in mitigating the threat emanating from Syria as well.

John Karl: That’s astounding. You’re saying that you still see Yemen as a model? Building up a central government, which has now collapsed? A president who has apparently fled the country? Saudi troops massing on one border, the Iranians supporting the rebels? You consider this a model for counterterrorism?”

For those who aren’t up to speed, CNN reported March 23:

The U.S. military has pulled its remaining personnel out of Yemen due to the deteriorating security situation, the U.S. State Department said.

The evacuation involved about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN. The State Department called it a temporary relocation.

Those evacuated, which include Navy SEALs and members of the Army’s Delta Force, were the last American forces stationed in the Arab nation, which is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist group also known as AQAP.

The New York Times reported today:

Yemeni fighters and army units allied with the Houthi movement closed in on the last redoubt of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen on Wednesday amid news reports that he had fled by boat across the Gulf of Aden, possibly to the tiny African nation of Djibouti. …

The region’s most impoverished country, Yemen has been a central theater of the American fight against Al Qaeda. Along with Syria, Iraq and Libya, Yemen is also now at least the fourth state to veer toward collapse in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolts.

What makes Yemen’s implosion all the more maddening is that the Obama administration is hoping that with the right media coverage it can make enough people believe that nothing is broken. It’s like Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy” after he broke David Spade’s car door and secretly put it back in place. When Mr. Spade’s character came back to his vehicle and the door fell from its hinges, Farley feigned surprise and asked, “What did you do?”

Tommy BoyThe next president is going to have to deal with the aftermath of Mr. Obama’s disastrous counterterrorism strategy, and when that happens his supporters will act as if it all went downhill the moment their guy left office.

Tommy Boy Chris Farley1The problem is that the world isn’t like “Tommy Boy.” When an administration fails to acknowledge reality in territory controlled by al Qaeda and its ideological allies, eventually it results in dead Americans.

Houthi APJosh Earnest went full Baghdad Bob. You never go full Baghdad Bob, no matter how painful it might be to tell the truth.

Only by telling the truth can we truly figure out how to get a handle on a bad situation. The longer we lie to ourselves, the worse our day of reckoning will be. Sadly, it seems as though the White House’s main concern is making sure that judgment day comes sometime after Mr. Obama has left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Obama tells Muslim scholars they aren’t Islamic; jihadis laugh, go back to growing caliphate

Bakr alBaghdadiThe Obama administration would do itself a huge favor if it would pass out copies of Graeme Wood’s most recent piece for The Atlantic, “What ISIS Really Wants,” to all of its staff. At a time when the commander in chief can say with a straight face that the Islamic State group is not Islamic and State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf publicly focuses on getting terrorists better job prospects, it is a must-read.

Mr. Wood writes:

Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest.

Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims “ancient” was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.

Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.

This is an incredibly important point. The leadership of the Islamic State is not interested in merely acquiring power for the sake of acquiring power — its quest is directly tied to a serious reading of the Koran that can be debated, but not dismissed.

Mr. Wood continues:

Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy.

The Islamic State’s ideology exerts powerful sway over a certain subset of the population. Life’s hypocrisies and inconsistencies vanish in its face. Musa Cerantonio and the Salafis I met in London are unstumpable: no question I posed left them stuttering. They lectured me garrulously and, if one accepts their premises, convincingly. To call them un-Islamic appears, to me, to invite them into an argument that they would win. If they had been froth-spewing maniacs, I might be able to predict that their movement would burn out as the psychopaths detonated themselves or became drone-splats, one by one. But these men spoke with an academic precision that put me in mind of a good graduate seminar. I even enjoyed their company, and that frightened me as much as anything else.

Mr. Wood nails it again when he observes their “academic precision.” For his piece he also interviewed London’s radical cleric Anjem Choudary, accurately articulating many of my own opinions on the man. Say what you will about Mr. Choudary, but he is not stupid and he is not psychotic. To say that he and his ideological allies are not “Islamic” is ludicrous and invites policy makers to embrace doomed strategies for dealing with them.

Mr. Wood offers sage advice to Mr. Obama when he says:

Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfir against Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted).

When a U.S. president tells the American people not to take seriously the religious motivations of men who now control a land mass the size of the United Kingdom — in the heart of the Middle East — he is doing the free world a grave disservice.

Here is what I wrote Feb. 9:

It seems much more likely that Islamic State will publicly cheer on any “lone wolf” attacks that may occur in the U.S. in the next few years while privately amassing more wealth and allocating resources to grow its nascent caliphate in the Middle East.

Here is what Mr. Wood said for his March article:

A few “lone wolf” supporters of the Islamic State have attacked Western targets, and more attacks will come. But most of the attackers have been frustrated amateurs, unable to immigrate to the caliphate because of confiscated passports or other problems. Even if the Islamic State cheers these attacks—and it does in its propaganda—it hasn’t yet planned and financed one. (The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January was principally an al‑Qaeda operation.) During his visit to Mosul in December, Jürgen Todenhöfer interviewed a portly German jihadist and asked whether any of his comrades had returned to Europe to carry out attacks. The jihadist seemed to regard returnees not as soldiers but as dropouts. “The fact is that the returnees from the Islamic State should repent from their return,” he said. “I hope they review their religion.”

Question: Why are we both coming to similar conclusions?

Answer: Because both of us don’t go around deluding ourselves that a lack of good office jobs is anywhere close to the primary driver for Islamic State recruitment. Taking these men and their interpretation of the Koran seriously yields the kind of information policymakers need to make sound decisions; telling them that the Islamic State group is not Islamic is a recipe for disaster.

If you get a chance, take the time to read “What ISIS Really Wants.” Mr. Wood’s piece for The Atlantic is superb. Unfortunately, the can’t same be said for the Obama administration’s attempts to deal with Islamic terrorists around the globe.

Germans cancel parade due to terror threat; honest debate on Islamic State still verboten in U.S.

Things are nicht so gut for Western Civilization these days. Paris suffered the Charlie Hebdo and kosher deli terror attacks in January, and on Saturday it was Denmark facing terror attacks at a cafe and a synagogue that left two dead and multiple people injured. A popular German festival was canceled today because a “man-caused disaster” (to borrow a phrase from the Obama administration), was expected.

The Associated Press reported Feb 15:

BERLIN (AP) — Police in the German city of Braunschweig cancelled a popular Carnival street parade on Sunday because of fears of an imminent Islamist terror attack.

Police spokesman Thomas Geese said police received credible information that there was a “concrete threat of an attack with an Islamist background” on Sunday’s parade and therefore called on all visitors to stay at home.

Geese said the parade was canceled less than 90 minutes before its scheduled start and that “many people arriving at the train station from out of town were already dressed up and very disappointed — but we didn’t want to take any risks.”

Braunschweig’s Carnival parade is the biggest one in northern Germany and draws around 250,000 visitors each year.

News of this planned act of terrorism comes only days after the Obama administration tried to say that an attack on a kosher deli was a “random” event that wasn’t targeting Jews, per se.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had this incredibly bizarre exchange with Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee on Feb. 10:

Reporter: Does the administration believe that this was an anti-Jewish — an attack on the Jewish community in Paris?

Jen Psaki: I don’t think we’re going to speak on behalf of French authorities and what they believe was the situation at play here.

Reporter: If a guy goes into a kosher market and shoots it up he’s not looking for Buddhists, is he? […] I’m not sure I can understand how it is that you can’t say that this was a targeted attack.

Jen Psaki: I just don’t have more for you, Matt. It’s an issue for the French government to address.

Will the Obama administration say the synagogue attack was a “randomly” picked location that didn’t target Jews because five potentially non-Jewish police officers were wounded? Will the president go into an expanded lecture about the need to keep the Crusades in mind as we discuss who exactly threatened Berlin’s Braunschweig’s Carnival parade?

Think about it: 250,000 were told to stay home because of an imminent terror attack planned for Berlin this weekend — on top of the deadly terror attacks in Copenhagen — and yet it is a sure bet that when asked about it Mr. Obama will play a rhetorical game of “keep away” with the word ‘Islam.’

Meanwhile, ominous news continues to come out of Libya and Egypt. The New York Times reported Feb. 14 for its piece “Islamic State Sprouting Limbs Beyond Its Base”:

Although there is little or no public evidence that the Islamic State’s leaders in Syria and Iraq have practical control over its North African provinces, its influence is already apparent in their operations and is destabilizing the countries around them. A publication released by the central group last week included a photograph of fighters in Libya with its affiliate there parading 20 Egyptian Christian captives in the Islamic State’s trademark orange jumpsuits, indicating at least a degree of communication.

In Egypt, the Sinai-based extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis sent emissaries to the Islamic State in Syria last year to seek financial support, weapons and tactical advice, as well as the publicity and recruiting advantages that might come with the Islamic State name, according to Western officials briefed on classified intelligence reports.

The U.S. Embassy in Libya — closed. The U.S. Embassy in Syria — closed. The U.S. Embassy in Yemen — closed. Notice a trend?

The Obama administration is like a bunch of high school kids who destroyed a portion of the family home while their parents were gone for a college reunion. When mom and dad call to check in, the kids say everything is all right. Then, after the discussion, they frantically resume trying to fix the disaster in time to pretend like nothing wrong ever happened.

The problem with that strategy is that it almost never works. Honesty is the best policy. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has opted for Buzzfeed selfie-stick health care videos and lectures on “terrible deeds” in the name of Christ instead of a frank discussion on the long-term security threats facing the nation.

Obama selfie stickUpdate: While writing this piece it turns out that Islamic State group beheaded 21 Christians in Libya and posted video of it online. How long will it take before President Obama reminds us that the Crusades were brutal?

Islamic State Christians beheadedLibya ISIL Christians killed

U.S. closes embassy in Yemen: Obama to give ‘It’s all part of the plan’ Joker speech soon

The Dark Knight Joker HospitalOn national security issues, not a day goes by where the Obama administration says or does something so bizarre that you can’t help but laugh, which is then followed up with the real-world consequences of a clueless foreign policy that makes you want to cry.

Less than 24 hours after the White House tried to convince Americans that a terror attack at a kosher deli in Paris wasn’t directed at Jews, the news comes in that the United Kingdom and France will join the U.S. in closing their embassies in Yemen.

The BBC reported Feb. 11:

The US, UK and France are closing their embassies in Yemen due to the deteriorating security situation and political crisis in the country.

The US and UK governments have withdrawn diplomatic staff from Sanaa and urged their citizens to leave.

France’s embassy in the capital has announced that it will close on Friday.

The moves come as the UN attempts to broker talks between political factions and Shia rebels who control Sanaa and dissolved parliament last week.

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and his cabinet resigned on 22 January after the rebels, known as Houthis, overran the presidential palace and placed them under effective house arrest.

Those who follow events in this part of the world know that Yemen’s downward spiral is bad. Really bad. Really, really, really bad. The warning signs were all there, but for some reason the president didn’t want to talk about it during his State of the Union address. Instead, he wanted to talk about “free” community college programs. Even Obama-friendly news outlets called him out on the omission.

Politico reported after the President’s State of the Union address in January:

For the first time since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda didn’t even rate a mention in the State of the Union. Nor did that group’s successor Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, even though it has spread through countries across Africa and claimed responsibility for the recent deadly attack on a French satirical magazine. …

“There was a general tone of suspended disbelief,” NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel said after Obama’s speech. “It seems that the rose-colored glasses through which he was viewing…foreign policy were so rose colored that I think they don’t even reflect the world that we’re living in.”

It is only a matter of time before Mr. Obama, his White House press secretary Josh Earnest, and members of the State Department give Joker-inspired speeches that translate: “It’s all part of the plan.”

Roughly 20,000 foreign fighters are flowing into Syria and Iraq. In Yemen, where al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula is highly active, there is no president and western nations are running for the exits. If this is the White House’s definition of “success” when it comes to foreign policy, then someone should ask Mr. Obama how he defines failure.

Islamic State: Well-funded terror group at an ‘entirely different level than al Qaeda’

James Foley Islamic StateThis weekend I met up for breakfast with a friend. He asked me to sum up my thoughts on the Islamic State group. Like most Americans, he’s a busy guy. He’s running around trying to grow a business and he doesn’t have time to be researching radical Islamic terrorist organizations. The short answer to the question, “Should we be concerned?” is “Yes.”

The succinct version of what I told my friend over blueberry waffles is this: The Islamic State group is well-organized, well-funded, and it is training Americans and Europeans on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. At this point the absence of a terrorist attack seems to be more of a strategic decision on its leadership’s part than on an inability to make it happen.

Below are excerpts from four recent news stories that highlight my point:

Cicero Magazine reported Feb. 4:

ISIS is officially the richest terrorist group in existence. Through its illicit oil sales–worth between $1 million and $2 million a day—as well as kidnapping and extortion networks, robbery, front companies, racketeering, and outside donations, the group has amassed a $2 billion fortune.

Fox News reported Feb. 7:

Six Bosnian natives who immigrated to the U.S. sent money and military equipment to support Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State terror group, the Justice Department said Friday night.

The suspects sent multiple payments using PayPal, as well as U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical clothing and gear, military surplus goods, firearms accessories, rifle scopes and first aid supplies to Turkey.

ABC News reported Feb. 8:

The retired Marine Corps general at the forefront of the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against ISIS told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the terror group “is at an entirely different level than al Qaeda was.”

ISIS is “better organized [than al Qaeda]. It’s command and control is better,” John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, told ABC News.

When asked whether ISIS is a threat to the home front, Allen said “we should take it very seriously.”

CNN reported Feb. 8:

Jeh Johnson: “The numbers that we see are larger in European countries, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re concerned about travel to and from Europe and making sure we’ve got the appropriate security assurances from countries from which we do not require a visa. But here at home we do a pretty good job of tracking these individuals. And we have in a number of instances arrested people for material support, for attempting to travel to Syria, for example.”

Again: The Islamic State group is well-funded, well-organized, and composed of plenty of Americans and Europeans who are willing to do its bidding.

Put yourself in the shoes of a member of al Qaeda or Islamic State for a moment, even if it’s uncomfortable.

  • Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour literally quit on the job when radicals took over the presidential palace.
  • Libya is a free for all.
  • Iraq and Syria are dangerous places, but provide plenty of safe havens from which to operate.
  • The U.S. doesn’t know what it wants to do in Afghanistan and has its hands full with Iran.
  • Pakistan’s lawless regions are still just as lawless as ever.

Why would you risk a spectacular attack on U.S. soil that could result in the election of strong national security-focused president when you could just lie low, consolidate your gains in the region, and hope that another iteration of President Obama wins in 2016? You wouldn’t.

It seems much more likely that Islamic State will publicly cheer on any “lone wolf” attacks that may occur in the U.S. in the next few years while privately amassing more wealth and allocating resources to grow its nascent caliphate in the Middle East.

As I told my friend: the Islamic State group isn’t just some boogeyman. It’s a real organization and a threat to America’s national security interests around the globe. While guys like us shouldn’t stop meeting for breakfast to enjoy blueberry waffles, we also shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security.