Obama, delusional, blames media for ISIS fears

Obama on media CNN screenshot

President Obama gave an interview with National Public Radio before heading off for vacation that should send chills down the spine of anyone who cares about national security. The president blamed the media for Americans’ fears of the Islamic State group instead of a.) the Dec. 2 terror attack in California, the deadliest on U.S. soil since 9/11, b.) the resiliency of ISIS, and c.) an aimless “strategy” to defeat the terror group.

“If you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you,” Obama said Monday, CNN reported. Look, the media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it’s up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things.”

How delusional does a man have to be to question media coverage of a terror group only weeks after 14 Americans were slaughtered in San Bernardino by its supporters?

How tone-deaf does a man have to be to question media  coverage of a terror group just weeks after it killed 130 during an attack inside Paris, France?

To add insult to injury,  Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Dec. 9 and charged with trying to join ISIS. He is the 10th Twin Cities resident facing such charges.

The president’s comments also come in the middle of a world-wide refugee crisis fueled by the U.S.-led coalition’s failure to destroy ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and parts of North Africa. Millions of people are scattered across the globe, ISIS explicitly says it wants to use the chaos to filter its members into western nations, and Mr. Obama wonders why networks are covering the story.

In short, Mr. Obama’s comments can be translated: “Can’t you guys just cover Steve Harvey screwing up the 2015 Miss Universe pageant? You’ll get ratings and protect my reputation at the same time! Come on, what do you say? You just need to cover for me one more year and I’ll be out of here.”

Steve Harvey ABC screenshot

The president did everything within his power to ignore the Middle East since 2008. He believed his own hype — that the world’s terrorism-related ills could primarily be traced by to George W. Bush — and in doing so he allowed al Qaeda’s mutation to thrive and grow.

The fear Americans have of ISIS is a rational response to a reality that Mr. Obama helped create. If the president is unhappy with news coverage now, then he should not have dismissed ISIS as a “JV” team on Jan. 27, 2014.

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.

Obama’s $500M plan to train Syrian rebels yields ‘four or five’ troops, Gen. Lloyd Austin admits

Obama Syria

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, was forced to tell the truth Wednesday in front of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. As is often the case, the truth can be painful. It turns out that a $500 million dollar program launched by the Obama administration to train Syrian rebels has yielded “four or five” troops for the front line against the Islamic State group.

Here is the exchange between Gen. Austin and Republican Senator Deb Fischer on Wednesday:

Sen. Deb Fischer: When Senator Carter was here before this committee in July he testified that there were only about 60 Syrian fighters that had been trained in our train-and-equip program and reinserted. We’ve heard reports of attacks on those individuals when they were reinserted back into Syria. Can you tell us what the total number of trained fighters remains.

Austin: It’s a small number. The ones that are in the fight is, we’re talking four or five.

Yes, you read that correctly — “four or five.”

LLoyd Austin

The Daily Beast did a decent job summing up the situation:

It is a staggeringly low number for a project in which the Obama administration had initially planned to train 5,400 fighters a year. At this pace of training, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin told a Senate committee, the U.S. “won’t reach the goal we initially established for ourself.” In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth gave a relatively rosy picture of the U.S.-led effort to defeat ISIS, characterizing the Syrian train-and-equip program as merely “off to a slow start.”

“That’s a joke,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) told Austin, referring to the “four or five” figure.

It would be a joke if the situation wasn’t so serious.

As it stands, the Islamic State group still controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, Libya and Yemen (once touted as White House foreign policy successes) have imploded, and the United Nations puts the number of registered Syrian refugees at 4 million.

Syrian Refugee

The Obama administration told the world for the past year that it had everything under control — and then Europe was flooded with refugees.

It also appears as though intelligence experts were pressured into giving the White House the exact message it wanted: Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

NBC News reported Sept. 16:

“Published media reports suggest that the CIA’s estimate of ISIL’s manpower has remained constant, despite U.S. airstrikes-which suggests that either they were wrong to begin with, or that ISIL is replacing its losses in real time. Neither is good,” said committee chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“Indeed, this committee is disturbed by recent whistleblower allegations that officials at Central Command skewed intelligence assessments to paint an overly-positive picture of conditions on the ground,” McCain said. He said the committee was investigating the allegations. “If true, those responsible must be held accountable,” he said.

Mr. Obama raised his head up high after adopting a “lead from behind” strategy. He seems to care more about inviting Muslim high school “suitcase-clock” makers to the White House than dealing with Islamic terrorist armies marching across the Middle East. He created a leadership vacuum in the world, which was quickly filled by its worst actors.

Sadly, many media outlets still refuse to accurately cover just how disastrous the president’s foreign policy has been. Indeed, it is hard to blame George W. Bush for a $500 million Obama anti-ISIL plan that churned out “four or five” soldiers.

As time runs out on the Obama administration, expect dictators, despots and terrorists around the globe to make an extra push for easy geopolitical gains. They know a guy like Mr. Obama doesn’t come around too often.

America has no strategy for Islamic State because America doesn’t know what it stands for anymore

Islamic State flagThe Islamic State group has taken control of Ramadi and political pundits want to know why Iraqi forces have fled — again — despite training by U.S. troops, an abundance of U.S.-supplied weapons, and the assistance of U.S. airstrikes. The short answer is that the Obama administration has no strategy for Iraq. Dropping bombs on people is not a strategy. Regardless, here is the big picture: the U.S. has an incoherent foreign policy because it no longer knows what it stands for. America’s foreign policy failures are symptoms of a much deeper problem.

To provide a quick example of just how bad things are going in Iraq, first read Wednesday’s reporting by The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The United States is rushing 1,000 antitank rockets to the Iraqi military to help combat the massive suicide vehicle bombs that Islamic State militants used in capturing the provincial capital of Ramadi, a first step as the Obama administration weighs a range of difficult options to help its beleaguered ally. …

Obama administration officials have called the fall of Ramadi a huge setback, but they have sought to quell critics in the region and on Capitol Hill by portraying the defeat as a temporary blow that will not change the overall strategy for fighting the Islamic State or lessen the administration’s support of Mr. Abadi’s government.

Then read Tuesday’s reporting by The Associated Press:

Iraqi troops abandoned dozens of U.S military vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces when they fled Islamic State fighters in Ramadi on Sunday, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, estimated that a half dozen tanks were abandoned, a similar number of artillery pieces, a larger number of armored personnel carriers and about 100 wheeled vehicles like Humvees. He said some of the vehicles were in working condition; others were not because they had not been moved for months.

This repeats a pattern in which defeated Iraq security forces have, over the past year, left behind U.S.-supplied military equipment, prompting the U.S. to destroy them in subsequent airstrikes against Islamic State forces.

Got it? The U.S. is supplying Iraqi forces with antitank weapons just days after Iraqi forces let U.S.-supplied tanks fall into the Islamic State group’s possession. As AP noted, there is now a pattern of Iraqi forces losing U.S. equipment to the terror organization.

Here is what White House Press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl when he was essentially asked if this kind of pattern constitutes success:

JONATHAN KARL: On the overall track record of military operations, and the president’s strategy on this, you said we’ve seen periods of progress and success. Would you say that overall the strategy has been a success?

JOSH EARNEST: Look Jon, yeah, overall, yes. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been areas of setback as we saw in Ramadi.

KARL: Is it the exporting terror to Libya? Taking over the capitol of Iraq’s largest province? This is overall success?

EARNEST: We’ve also seen a coalition of 60 nations around the world join the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new Prime Minister take office in Iraq and unite that country and deploy a multisectarian security force against ISIL that has succeeded in liberating important areas of Diyala, Ninevah, Babel, Kirkuk provinces. …

Translation: We’re “doing something” with a coalition of 60 nations and security forces are “doing…stuff…and things.”

Here is what I said September 13, 2012 regarding President Obama’s foreign policy:

At best, I consider it “Finger Painting Foreign Policy,” in which he takes a globular mess, rubs his hands in it, makes a bigger mess and then smiles with what he’s accomplished — while the media likens him to Jackson Pollock.

Syria has no functional government. Libya has no functional government. Yemen has no functional government. Iraq has a dysfunctional government. It seems safe to say that time has shown the finger painting analogy to be an accurate assessment, which is probably why Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is nowhere to be found.

Nancy Youssef TwitterFormer Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, however, is willing to talk. Here is what he told CBS News on Monday:

“I think first of all we need to change the rules of engagement for our troops. I think we don’t need a significant increase in troops in my view, but how they’re used needs to be changed.”

The sad news is that Mr. Obama is not likely to change the rules of engagement for American troops in any productive way because, again, he has not articulated a strategy. He reacts to world events based on political calculus, but does not try to shape them based on a core set of principles.

Even if the president had an epiphany in the final leg of his presidency, it would matter little. The collective mind of the American people is no longer moored to its founding principles. We are fractured. We are splintered. We are not united. The greatest strategy in the world cannot succeed when its implementation depends upon a nation that has stewed in moral relativism so long that it no longer knows right from wrong — or even cares to learn.

If you believe in God, then I suggest praying for the future of America. Strange days certainly lie ahead.

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

Obama: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic,'” but let’s talk about ‘terrible deeds in the name of Christ’

Obama prayer breakfast APPresident Obama gave an address to the nation on September 10, 2014 in which he said “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.'” Today, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, he reminded the world of that by oddly mentioning people who “committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” during the Crusades.

Only days after the Islamic State group began burning its victims alive, and only days after Boko Haram did the exact same thing in Cameroon (90 civilians slaughtered), Mr. Obama decided it was the perfect time to wag his finger at Christians over … the Crusades. Oddly enough, none of the president’s speechwriters thought it would be a good idea to remind him that the Crusades were born out of the need to push back against Islamic empire-building.

The Associated Press reported Thursday:

The president said that while religion is a source for good around the world, people of all faiths have been willing to “hijack religion for their own murderous ends.”

“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

“So it is not unique to one group or one religion,” Obama said. “There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

Islamic radical terrorist groups are chopping off heads and burning men alive in 2015, and president Obama’s brilliant idea is to start erroneously lecturing audiences on battles that took place around 1100. Worst of all, the man bends over backward to not mention Islam in connection with Islamic terrorist groups, and yet he is quick to throw out Christ’s name to admonish Christians. To rub salt in their wounds, it’s coming from a man who sat in “Reverend” Jeremiah “God d**n America! Dat’s in-da Bible!” Wright’s church for 20 years.

In Mr. Obama’s mind, the Crusades just sprang up out of nowhere. In Mr. Obama’s mind, Christians just marched off to Jerusalem to kill Muslims for no apparent reason. He believes it is inappropriate to call terrorism committed in the name of Islam “Islamic terrorism,” but it is appropriate lay guilt trips on Americans for the actions of the first settlers (never mind the fact that slavery in some form or another was practiced in all cultures throughout the history of mankind until Western Civilization took control).

The Spanish Inquisition claimed around 3,000 lives — or, put another way, 23 more than those lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The point isn’t to begin to start a tit-for-tat death toll debate, but to show that Mr. Obama’s bizarre warnings to Christians makes no sense when one considers the fact that Libya and Iraq have imploded, Afghanistan is a mess, Syria is on fire, and Yemen and Pakistan are giant question marks — right now.

Americans need leadership in this present moment, and all they’re getting from Mr. Obama is a poorly crafted history lesson.

Exit question: Who would you rather trust with your life: Jordan’s King Abdullah II or President Obama? The former Cobra attack helicopter pilot, or the community organizer?

King Abdullah II

CNN goes full-Dorothy on Islamic State: ‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.’

Wizard of OzYesterday on this blog I said that Americans would be wise to look at the Islamic State group’s execution video of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh. Fox News apparently took the same viewpoint and provided a link for viewers who were comfortable with the decision. CNN International executive Tony Maddox, however, took the “Wizard of Oz” approach: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

Mediaite reported Feb. 4:

“There was absolutely no editorial justification for showing it at all. You could describe what happened, and in describing what happened it is deeply and profoundly disturbing. As we were discussing Michael, you and I unfortunately have had a lot of exposure to these images. And even by that threshold this is just out-and-out appalling. It makes one despair. Nothing can be gained by showing that. And a key criteria is ISIS want us to show it. If ISIS wants you to show something, you should start with the principle ‘How can we avoid doing that?'”

Wrong, Tony. Nothing can be more powerful than witnessing an event first hand. Since CNN viewers can not bend space and time to their will, the next best thing is to see actual video of newsworthy events with world-wide repercussions.

On Sept. 11, 2001 I was scouring different stations for anything I could find on the terrorists attacks. I stopped on a Mexican television station that showed images of men and women jumping to their demise from the World Trade Center Towers. Those images affected in me in ways that no amount of description alone could ever duplicate. To say that “nothing” was gained from that experience would be a lie.

If I sit down with a man and we’re given the exact same amount of information on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — but I am given access to audio and video of the event — my understanding of reality should be the one that is closest to reality.

The ability to see just how barbaric the individuals Western civilization is up against is an invaluable asset, and, ironically, it is given to us by the enemy. Yes, the videos serve as a propaganda too for terrorist groups, but it’s a double-edged sword. The U.S. doesn’t have to go out of its way to make it’s own propaganda because the enemy has already demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is evil.

Mediaite asked after Fox’s decision to link to the videos: “when a terrorist group’s actions are as undeniably horrible as beheadings and burning people alive, do you really need to see it with your own eyes to know it’s despicable?”

In a world with a working moral compass, evidence that the videos exist and that they are real would probably be enough. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the President refuses to call the Islamic State group “Islamic,” the State Department doesn’t want to put “labels” on The Taliban, the Obama administration has called terrorism “man caused disasters,” the Fort Hood shooting was called “workplace violence,” and it was only months ago that said commander in chief was calling Moaz al-Kassasbeh’s future killers a “J.V. team.”

Yes, sadly, watching these videos is precisely what many Americans need to do. They could also watch the 9/11 attacks while they’re at it, since many of them said “Never forget!” … just before they forgot.

While CNN pats itself on the back for segments in which it is seriously put forth that a missing airplane may have fallen into a black hole, Fox is busy showing America the true face of a terrorist organization with global ambitions. Americans should obviously not be forced to look at a man’s last moments as he is burned alive, but the evidence of a terrorist group’s ghoulish atrocities should be readily available for any man who wants to see why eternal vigilance is needed to protect his freedom.

For those of you who prefer your news thoroughly sterilized before you watch it, just remember: “There’s no place like home.”

Panetta slams Obama on Iraq: President ignored advice, failed to use leverage to secure SOFA

PanettaFormer Defense Secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta allowed Time magazine to print an excerpt from his new book, “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace,” and in it he offers a stinging rebuke of the Obama administration’s decision to let a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq slip through its fingers.

Mr. Panetta writes:

Privately, the various leadership factions in Iraq all confided that they wanted some U.S. forces to remain as a bulwark against sectarian violence. But none was willing to take that position publicly, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki concluded that any Status of Forces Agreement, which would give legal protection to those forces, would have to be submitted to the Iraqi parliament for approval. That made reaching agreement very difficult given the internal politics of Iraq, but representatives of the Defense and State departments, with scrutiny from the White House, tried to reach a deal.

We had leverage. We could, for instance, have threatened to withdraw reconstruction aid to Iraq if al-Maliki would not support some sort of continued U.S. military presence. …

Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy … argued our case, and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.

To my frustration, the White House coordinated the negotiations but never really led them. Officials there seemed content to endorse an agreement if State and Defense could reach one, but without the President’s active advocacy, al-Maliki was allowed to slip away. The deal never materialized. To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country.

In short, the guy who billed himself as the diplomat extraordinaire got everyone around the table and said, “How do you guys want to do this? Not sure? Okay. Well, see you later!

While the urge to accuse Mr. Panetta of trying to safeguard his reputation is strong, consider this: President Obama — who flippantly called Islamic State a “J.V. team” as they were gobbling up Iraq — is the type of guy who will go on “60 Minutes” and throw the entire intelligence community under the bus, despite incontrovertible evidence that the intelligence community was ringing the alarm bells in his face.

The Washington Post reported Sept. 30:

Reporters quickly noticed that there were warnings, aired publicly many months ago, about the capabilities and intentions of the Islamic State. Should it really have been a surprise?

The paper goes on to cite warnings from Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, from Nov. 14, 2013, Gen. Michael Flynn, U.S. Army director, Defense Intelligence Agency, on Feb. 11, 2014, and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Mike Rogers from Sept. 18, 2014. Then, in true Post fashion, it cannot bring itself to give Mr. Obama a “Pinocchio,” — it went with “Verdict Pending” — despite its own reporting that confirms he lied on national television.

Is the verdict still “pending” now that Mr. Obama’s hand-picked former CIA Director has publicly stated that the president chose to ignore the advice of a gigantic wall of agreement between the military and intelligence communities on Iraq and Syria? The Washington Post’s exercise in doublethink is astounding — it essentially says “This and this and this and this and this prove the president is lying — the president is not lying.”

If you were watching the “60 Minutes” interview and thought, “How does the president get away with this?” look no further than the type of news outlets that resort to some variation of “These are not the drones you are looking for” any time the president’s credibility is truly threatened.

Media that refuse to hold the president accountable are culpable for the consequences of their obfuscation. Every time they write the equivalent of “verdict pending” on the president when it is not, their credibility is corroded. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only victims. Without a free and honest press, the nation hollows itself out from within.

Gen. Mattis on Iraq: I’m not sure why Obama is publicly taking options off the table

James Mattis, Ryan Crocker, Dafna RandThe House Intelligence Committee takes its job very seriously, which is why Ret. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis was called in on Thursday to discuss the U.S. strategy for destroying the Islamic State group. With over four decades of military service under his belt, the general knows a thing or two about combat. Unfortunately, his assessment of how the commander in chief is handling the Middle East conundrum before him is not kind.

The Washington Post reported Thursday:

“You just don’t take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do,” said Mattis, who served as the top U.S. general overseeing operations in the Middle East before leaving military service last year. …

Broadcasting up front an unwillingness to use ground troops in Iraq, despite an expanded mission there, creates problems, both Mattis and [former U.S. diplomat Ryan] Crocker said.

“Specifically, if this threat to our nation is determined to be as significant as I believe it is, we may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American ‘boots on the ground,’ ” Mattis said. “If a brigade of a our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines would strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose.”

While it is quite obvious that there are in fact “boots on the ground” in Iraq (i.e., Special Forces), it makes no sense whatsoever to show up at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., as Mr. Obama did, and assure troops that under no circumstances will they be deployed. It sends the wrong message to allies, it emboldens enemies, and it makes the job of those tasked with securing victory exponentially harder to complete.

If the president was being honest with the American people, then he would sound much more like U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno than a run-of-the-mill politician.

The New York Times reported Wednesday:

Airstrikes have halted the advance of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, General Odierno, now the Army chief of staff, told journalists from four news organizations, including The New York Times, in what aides said were his first public comments on the current situation in Iraq. Ultimately, though, “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said, referring to the Islamic extremists.

The airstrikes “will not be the end all and be all solution in Iraq,” he said. Similarly, he added, the jihadis cannot be allowed to have a safe haven across the border in Syria.

The general was careful not to say that ground troops had to be American, but the fact remains: ground troops will be necessary. If Joe Scarborough was on to something, and his theory that Mr. Obama is actively engaged in next-level “Art of War” strategic planning happened to be correct, Americans could breath a sigh of relief — but he’s not. The cable news host is wrong, and the public comments that multiple generals are making, while tactful, are their way of begging someone — anyone — to get Mr. Obama to listen to reason.

If you are still unconvinced that the president is in over his head, then notice that the White House has not been cornered into answering the following question: Who will govern cities and towns all across Syria when Islamic State is defeated? It is almost as if reporters know that nobody knows the answers to the “Then what?” questions and they don’t want the American people to see just how lost and confused U.S. foreign policy is as the country begins to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels (“No, seriously, these are the good guys, we swear!”).

As the situation in Iraq and Syria continues to unfold, look for whatever comments you can from men like Gen. Mattis and Gen. Odierno. Take note of what they’ve been saying, because those who refuse to take their sound advice on how to deal with Islamic State should be taken to task upon the unraveling.