Gen. Dempsey to Obama: You might need to use ground troops if this coalition stinks

Chuck Hagel, Martin DempseyArmy Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committees on Tuesday, telling officials that if coalition partners don’t deal with the Islamic State group’s operations in Iraq, then he would not hesitate to say what President Obama doesn’t want to hear: “Send in the ground troops.”

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” the general told the committees, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. He added that his recommendation, “may include the use of ground forces.”

One only needs to look Syria to realize that reliable ground troops — by someone — will be necessary to deal with Islamic State.

Reuters reported Tuesday:

Islamic State has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.

In the city of Raqqa, 450 km (280 miles) northeast of Damascus, residents say Islamic State has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria. …

Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, Islamic State fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas. In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.

In Raqqa, the group has evacuated buildings it was using as offices, redeployed its heavy weaponry, and moved fighters’ families out of the city.

“They are trying to keep on the move,” said one Raqqa resident, communicating via the Internet and speaking on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. “They have sleeper cells everywhere,” he added.

Anyone who peddles the idea that days of precision airstrikes on Islamic State convoys, parades and gathering places will “destroy” the terrorist group is a fool. For over three years the president did everything he could to ignore its rise by “leading from behind.” He tried to wash away his own “red line” in Syria and then allow others in the region to handle the civil war their own way. He opted to play a passive role when the world needed leadership, and contrary to the logic regularly espoused by Code Pink, the threat metastasized.

The men at the top of the Islamic State food chain are smart. Given that they have assets in Syria in Iraq — and Obama has ruled out using ground troops — the logical course of action for them is to go underground. Yes, it will slow their advance, but who cares? They already have access to millions of dollars in oil money a day, control main roadways and financial centers, and have suicide bombers at their disposal. Iraq does not have the political or military leadership at this time to go on the offensive without serious logistical support from western nations, and the U.S. has no one it can trust in Syria. If the U.S. was really serious about destroying Islamic State anytime soon, then Gen. Dempsey would publicly recommend ground troops immediately. He won’t do that because it is clear that the president is more concerned with finding a way to pass the buck onto a future U.S. president than he is with handing the threat now.

How can anyone know this? Easy. Simply read The New York Times, which reported Sept. 13 on the a meeting the president had with select journalists:

Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.

What kind of president gives an Islamic terrorist group ideas on ways to undercut U.S. public support for military operations that simultaneously allow the caliphate’s continuous rise? Mr. Obama’s Times interview translates: “You know, if you play your cards right, you can turn the public against me and still achieve your objectives, right? Think it about, guys. Seriously.”

Mr. Obama’s unsolicited advice to Islamic State only further highlights his deep desire for all radical Islamic terrorism to be a  problem that is largely confined to the Middle East, with occasional “law enforcement matters” (e.g., car bombs) that affect western interests around the globe. His infamous “jayvee team” interview with The New Yorker once again comes back to haunt him:

“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Mr. Obama’s interview with the Times essentially gives the terrorist group the “off ramp” elitist Beltway pundits always speak of any time an international thug starts invading countries or slaughtering his own people. The president is saying, “Guys, there’s still time. You can still make this ‘none of our business.'” What he doesn’t understand is that the end game for any group that seeks to create an Islamic caliphate requires the subjugation of free people.

Before Mr. Obama was elected president in 2008, people joked about the number of times he voted “present” in the Illinois State Senate. It wasn’t a joke, because he adopted a “vote present” foreign policy upon assuming the role of commander in chief. In the vacuum created by a sudden absence of American leadership, it was never going to be picked up by the cultural cadaver that is Europe. Instead, it was filled by the world’s worst actors, acting like prisoners who just had their jail cells thrown open by the head warden.

“Peace at any cost” doesn’t bring peace — it brings war. Sadly, it appears as though the message hasn’t penetrated the minds of Code Pink’s most ardent supporters, the president or members of his inner circle.

Obama’s Orwellian doublethink comes back to haunt him on Islamic State: A timeline

Republican v Democrat terrorism poll

Gallup released a poll on Sept. 11 that showed the Republican Party now has a commanding lead over Democrats when it comes to who the voters trust to protect them from terrorist groups and threats abroad.

The results spoke volumes about Americans’ opinion of the president’s “lead from behind” foreign policy, and his inability to comprehend the threat posed to the nation by radical Islam:

The Republican Party has expanded its historical edge over the Democratic Party in Americans’ minds as being better able to protect the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats. At this point, 55% of Americans choose the GOP on this dimension, while 32% choose the Democratic Party. This is the widest Republican advantage in Gallup’s history of asking this question since 2002.

The results were so bad that Meet the Press host Chuck Todd said the President Obama was on the verge of doing “Jimmy Carter-like damage” to the Democratic Party on matters of national security.

Where did it all go wrong? While an argument can been made that the predicament the U.S. (and the world) now finds itself in can be traced back to the president’s failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq in December, 2011, that still doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

Mr. Obama’s problem is that he fundamentally does not understand who and what he is up against. The following timeline, while incomplete, does a decent job highlighting the president’s ideological blinders.

June 10, 2014, Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, falls to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

June 13, 2014, President Obama says during an interview with Amy Davidson of The New Yorker that the group that just took over Falluja — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — is the equivalent of a junior varsity basketball team: “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

June 30, 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant becomes “Islamic State” and declares its territory covering Iraq and Syria to be origin of a new caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

August 7, 2014, President Obama announces that the U.S. will begin conducting airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State.

August 19, 2014, American journalist James Foley is executed by Islamic State. Video of the his gruesome death is posted online.

August 21, 2014, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Islamic State is “beyond a terrorist group.”

August 23, 2014, Over in Libya, Islamic fighters seize control of Tripoli’s airport. News outlets report that the intelligence community believes multiple jets previously housed at the airport are now missing.

September 3, 2014, President Obama simultaneously says the U.S. will “destroy” Islamic State and reduce it to a “manageable problem.”

September 3, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. will follow Islamic State to “the gates of hell.”

September 4, 2014, President Obama says he “doesn’t have a strategy yet” when asked how he plans to deal with Islamic State’s increasing power and influence in Syria.

September 9, 2014, Multiple news outlets wonder if Libya, now at the mercy of various warring Islamic groups, can officially be called a failed state.

September 10, 2014, President Obama says the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not Islamic in an address to the nation: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” No one asks the president if he believes the Ottoman Empire was Islamic.

September 11, 2014, — 13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — John Kerry tells CNN the U.S. is not at war with Islamic State, adding “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation. It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

September 11, 2014, —  13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says U.S. military operations against Islamic State are not a continuation of the war on terrorism, telling a reporter, “When we talk about how you degrade and defeat terrorist organizations, it’s not exactly I think how you’re probably using the term. And it’s not one that I’m using.”

September 11, 2014,  —  13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest flippantly responds to a reporter’s question about how the Obama administration defines “destroy” when it comes to Islamic State by saying, “I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary.”

September 12, 2014, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest decides the U.S. is at war with Islamic State, saying “The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

September 12, 2014, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the U.S. is “at war” with Islamic State, but then goes on to downplay the military’s role in winning that war by stating “It’s about defeating [Islamic State’s] ideology.”

September 14, 2014, John Kerry reverses himself from his CNN interview just three days earlier and tells CBS host Bob Schieffer, “Yeah, we’re at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

The history shown above points to a man who stubbornly clings to his September 10, 2001 worldview.

Only a man who is in willful denial can say on national television that the group called Islamic State is not Islamic. Only a man who is in too deep can give the State Department orders to say the U.S. is not at war on a Thursday but that the U.S. is at war on a Friday, when absolutely nothing has changed. Only a man who has been swallowed whole by his own hubris can believe that his Orwellian doublethink wouldn’t come back to haunt him.

Western Civilization is in a culture clash, and yet the president will twist himself into as many intellectual pretzels as necessary to convince himself that he’s strictly dealing with a law enforcement issue. In order to prove how liberal he is, Mr. Obama destroys his credibility by shielding a largely illiberal culture from criticism.

The American people are once again giving the conservative worldview its due. When evil men are chopping off heads, conducting crucifixions, and slaughtering women and children, the guy who “doesn’t have a strategy yet” because he’s been busy “leading from behind” will collapse in the polls. Likewise, so will his political party.

All Americans should root for the president on matters of national security, no matter what letter is next to his name. Unfortunately, that is incredibly hard to do when the commander in chief tries to convince the American people that a giant army called Islamic State does not include practitioners of Islam.

Suspected U.S. Islamic State recruits should be tried for treason by a jury of peers — not stripped of citizenship

Sen. Ted Cruz and other well-know conservatives have now become advocates for stripping suspected Islamic State members of their citizenship. If you feel inclined to side with that position, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you fear the future consequences of giving the government more power to conduct surveillance on your fellow Americans, but not the power to strip them of their citizenship?
  • Why do you fear the militarization of state and local police forces, but not the ability of the federal government to revoke the citizenship of those accused of being terrorists?
  • Why do you fear a federal government that has shown its desire to chip away at the Second Amendment, yet you believe it would judiciously use the power to abort a man’s citizenship?
  • Why should the bar for ending a natural born American’s citizenship be lower than the bar used to try him for treason?

The Hill reported on Sen. Tex Cruz’s bill to strip Americans of their citizenship Sept. 5:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is slated to introduce legislation next week that would revoke the U.S. citizenship of anyone fighting or providing support to terrorist groups working to attack the United States.

Cruz said he is filing the Expatriate Terrorist Act in reaction to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It would provide another level of protection to prevent foreign fighters from re-entering the United States, he said.

“Americans who choose to go to Syria or Iraq to fight with vicious ISIS terrorists are party to a terrorist organization committing horrific acts of violence, including beheading innocent American journalists who they have captured,” Cruz said in a statement.
“There can be no clearer renunciation of their citizenship in the United States, and we need to do everything we can to preempt any attempt on their part to re-enter our country and carry out further attacks on American civilians.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave support to a similar proposal in a Time magazine op-ed Thursday.

When an American is accused of committing a treasonous act, then you try him for treason in a court of law. You don’t set up a system where his citizenship is arbitrarily revoked and then instruct the U.S. military and the intelligence community to find him and drop bombs on his head.

CBS News reported in 2001:

The last person convicted of treason was Tomoya Kawakita, a Japanese-American sentenced to death in 1952 for tormenting American prisoners of war during World War II. Even such a clear-cut case created qualms; President Eisenhower commuted Kawakita’s sentence to life imprisonment.

The difficulties of meeting the tough constitutional standards — two witnesses or a confession in court to “levying war” against the United States — help explain why treason is rarely prosecuted.

No one at Aaron Burr’s 1807 trial doubted that he wanted to make himself emperor of Mexico, and probably part of the United States. It’s just that planning war was not the same as “levying war,” said Chief Justice John Marshall, who acquitted Burr. …

The framers of the Constitution crafted the narrowest definition of treason known until that time because they sought to protect Americans from the blunt instrument that European rulers had used against political enemies.

The CBS piece came out as the United States was trying to figure out what to do with John Walker Lindh. For those who don’t remember, he was part of a 2001 Taliban prison uprising in Afghanistan that killed CIA officer Mike Spann.

John Walker Lindh AP

Even Lindh wasn’t tried for treason. Instead, he pleaded guilty to one count of supplying services to the Taliban and a lesser criminal charge involving the weapons he was carrying at the time. The “American Taliban” was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crimes against the United States.

Would you elect a man president who, in his zeal to punish treasonous Americans, engineered tools to be favored by future tyrants?

Sen. Ted Cruz and his supporters are playing with fire. The track record of giving the federal government more power indicates that future generations of innocent Americans will get burned if his plan succeeds. 

Biden says U.S. will follow Islamic State to ‘gates of hell,’ channels goofy huckster instead of Churchill

Joe Biden Gates of Hell Islamic StateThe world is in a very scary place. As the mountain of decapitated heads pile up for the Islamic State group across the Middle East, president Obama is giving contradictory speeches where he says he’s going to “destroy” the terror group in one sentence, only to say moments later that he’d settle for rendering them a “manageable problem.” Worse, Vice President Joe Biden is giving speeches to the American people where he says the U.S. will “follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice.” He’s trying to channel his inner Winston Churchill but only finding a goofy disingenuous huckster — and the world knows it.

The Washington Post provided a portion of the text from his Sept. 3 speech:

“The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand,” Biden said, speaking at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. “We don’t forget. We take care of those who are grieving, and when that’s finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.”

One can’t help but cringe at a man who a.) only uses religious rhetoric when he’s trying to rile people up, and b.) beats bombastic war drums before the American public when the administration he works for has no intention of psychologically preparing the nation for the battles ahead.

The sting of the vice president’s speech is even worse for those who remember the way he “cared” for Charles Woods, who grieved over the loss of his son Tyrone after the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

“Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” (Joe Biden)

Contrast Mr. Biden’s words with those of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill before the House of Commons during World War II:

“You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs — victory in spite of all terrors — victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival,” (Winston Churchill. June 18, 1940).

At one time, Western Civilization had leading men of moral clarity. They spoke with purpose and conviction, and the world knew that they were serious. The enemies of freedom and liberty knew that a man like Churchill was up to the task of taking them on.

Churchill APBut what of Mr. Biden? Can anyone say with a straight face that if the survival of the American way of life hung in the balance that he could stir the souls of good men and women to action with words that rivaled Churchill?

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour,'” (Winston Churchill. June 18, 1940).

Americans should not take any stock in Mr. Biden’s “gates of hell” speech, but they would be wise to say a prayer for the future of Western Civilization.

Joe Scarborough: Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy’ remark comes from ‘The Art of War’

Joe Scarborough MSNBCOccasionally I write satirical pieces for this blog, and last week I wanted to put something together where the president’s supporters made the case that his “We don’t have a strategy yet” comment on Islamic State was really a masterstroke that Sun Tzu would applaud. It turns out that Joe Scarborough was thinking along the same lines — except he may really believe Obama is a strategic genius straight out of the pages of “The Art of War.”

Given that Joe Scarborough is the guy who would rather boycott Burger King over its decision to merge with Tim Hortons than to figure out why iconic American companies are heading to Canada, it’s probably safe to say (sadly) that he wasn’t joking.

“The Morning Joe” panel said on Aug. 29:

Scarborough: “This is straight out of ‘The Art of War.'”

Panelist: “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.”

Scarborough: “No, I’m not joking. No, I’m not — I am dead serious. I’m not joking. It’s straight out of ‘The Art of War’ where, when you were weak, you make you enemies think you are strong. When you are strong, you make your enemies think you are weak. If I’m about to attack another country, no, I would say — No, if I were about to attack another country I would say ‘You know what, we don’t have a strategy. We’re still working it out. You know. And then I would say ‘Scramble the jets. Scramble the jets.’ Right? … Okay, I’m sorry. Am I wrong?”

Here is  an excerpt from “The Art of War”:

“Strike at their gaps, attack when they are lax, don’t let the enemy figure out how to prepare. This is why it is said that in military operations formlessness is the most effective. One of the great warrior-leaders said, ‘The most efficient of movements is the one that is unexpected; the best of plans is the one that is unknown,” (Meng Shi).

“To divulge means to leak out. The military has no constant form, just as water has no constant shape — adapt as you face the enemy, without letting them know beforehand what you are going to do. Therefore, assessment of the enemy is in the mind, observation of the situation is in the eyes,” (Cao Cao).

“When your strategy is deep and far-reaching, then what you gain by your calculations is much, so you can win before you even fight. When your strategic thinking is shallow and nearsighted, then what you gain by your calculations is little, so you lose before you do battle. Much strategy prevails over little strategy, so those with no strategy cannot but be defeated,” (Zhang Yu).

What is more likely: That the U.S. military has plenty of strategies for defeating Islamic State, which Mr. Obama simply hasn’t decided on because he’s struck with political paralysis, or that the U.S. military doe not have a strategy? My bet is that Mr. Obama’s advisers have given him countless plans, which have all been rejected because actual leadership requires making decisions that are politically unpopular. It’s much easier to “lead from behind” and depend on others to come up with a strategy than it is to take charge and make decisions that you know will cost good men and women their lives.

Perhaps the “conservative” Mr. Scarborough should read The Washington Post. The paper wrote on Aug. 29:

His senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. But Mr. Obama didn’t seem to agree. “Now, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region,” he said. “My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back.” Contrast that ambition with this vow from Secretary of State John F. Kerry: “And make no mistake: We will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil.”

The discrepancies raise the question of whether Mr. Obama controls his own administration, but that’s not the most disturbing element. His advisers are only stating the obvious: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Islamic State and the Americans it is training are a danger to the United States. When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the threat they pose is “in some ways . . . more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” it’s not because he is a warmonger or an alarmist. He’s describing the world as he sees it. When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it.

That is not the hallmark behavior of a man who has read Sun Tzu. It is the tell-tale sign of a man who stepped into the batter’s box before he ever took a fastball. As strikeout after strikeout piles up, he continues to blame everyone except himself for his inability lead the team to victory.

The problem for the president is that the Islamic State group isn’t a mere rival of the Chicago White Sox — it’s a terrorist organization. When the president strikes out on matters of national security, innocent Americans die.

If Joe Scarborough was joking about the president’s “We don’t have a strategy” remark, then he should stop because Islamic State isn’t a laughing matter. If he was serious and he really believes the president knows exactly what he’s doing, then the MSNBC host should explain how Libya’s fall to Islamic radicals, Iraq’s implosion, the annexation of Crimea to Russia and the the invasion of eastern Ukraine (the president still calls it an “incursion”) all fit into Mr. Obama’s master plan.

Read “The Art of War” again, Mr. Scarborough. You’re having a lot trouble putting things into their proper context.

‘We don’t have a strategy yet’: Game over for Obama on foreign policy

Obama Aug 28 APImagine, if you will, a situation where a sitting U.S. president goes before the world and says he “doesn’t have a strategy” for dealing with a terrorist group that has created a budding Islamic Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. Imagine if only months earlier that president had referred to the terrorists he doesn’t have a strategy for as a “jayvee” basketball team. Now imagine that president’s name was George W. Bush. What do you think would happen to him?

The world knows exactly what would happen to George W. Bush because the echoes of those mocking “Mission Accomplished” still bounce off the walls of cable news studios on a regular basis. Say what you will about the prudence of using the “Mission Accomplished” sign, it was still employed after a successful wartime strategy led to the ouster of Saddam Hussein. For Islamic State’s control over large swathes of Syria, Mr. Obama admits that he has no strategy.

An excerpt from the president’s statements to the press on Aug. 28 reads:

Press Question: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

Obama: I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as Commander-in-Chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress. And I do think that it will be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.

Perhaps the reason why Mr. Obama does not currently have a strategy is because it was only six months ago that he was flippantly making Kobe Bryant jokes about the same men who would come to behead American photojournalist James Foley. The president scoffed at the notion that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his followers were not a force to be taken lightly, and now the border between Iraq and Syria has essentially melted — sort of like Mr. Obama’s “red line” in Syria. The border between the two countries is essentially gone, and in its place is a well-funded, well-armed terrorist group that somehow manages to make al Qaeda skittish.

Perhaps even more hilarious (or terrifying), was the spin that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tried to put on Mr. Obama’s remarks immediately after the damage had been done.

On CNN he said:

“I just want to be clear about what our strategy is. The president’s clear in that this strategy is one that’s not going to solve this problem overnight. But he’s also clear about the fact that our strategy can’t only be the American military,” he continued. “We have a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ISIL. One component of our broader strategy is the use of military force.”

Notice anything missing from the guy whose plan is to just say “strategystrategystrategystrategystrategy”? If you said “an actual strategy,” then give yourself a pat on the back. It would be as funny as Kevin Nealon’s old “Mr. Subliminal” skits on Saturday Night Live if it wasn’t real.

And speaking of SNL, one should take note of longtime writer Jim Downey, who said of attempts to make fun of Mr. Obama in his book “Live from New York”:

“If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10. […] It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature.”

If you think that SNL has slipped over the years, perhaps it’s because they consider a guy who is capable of saying “We don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with an army of radical Islamic terrorists to be a “10 point 10” in terms of comedic difficulty.

Regardless, it is game over for Obama on foreign policy, and that is no laughing matter.

U.K.’s Islamic State problem: ‘Jihadi-cool’ isn’t going away anytime soon

Islamic State UK

The world has an Islamic State problem on its hands, but the United Kingdom may bear the brunt of terror attacks directed at Western interests in the years to come. The reason: “Jihadi-cool” sub-culture. There is a dangerous size of Britain’s young Muslim population that identifies with the Sunni terrorists chopping heads off in Syria and Iraq, and they have made it very clear that the battlefield for an Islamic caliphate is limitless.

Reuters reported Aug. 21:

Iqbal Sacranie, an adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain, said Britons from across the country’s communities had to stop young men being seduced by radical ideologies.

“This sub culture of this ‘jihadi-cool’ – as they call it in the media – within the margins of society … that is the real challenge,” he told BBC Radio. “This is a problem that affects all of us and it will only be dealt with more effectively if all of us are working together on this.” …

Ghaffar Hussain, managing director of the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation, said it was almost inevitable that men who had fought in Syria would return to plan attacks in Europe.

“It is disturbing that people born and raised in Britain and who have gone to the same schools as us could have been essentially indoctrinated to the extent where they can justify raping women and chopping heads off,” he said.

The Muslim Council of Britain is comprised of over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organizations, mosques, charities and schools that bring services to the nation’s 2.7 million Muslims. When its advisers start warning about “jihadi-cool” cultures taking root among British youth, it is time to worry.

In February, 2013 this blog explored changing demographics in the U.K., which favored its radical Islamic population. As a result, certain readers said I was “scare mongering.” Another asked: “Why are you making this bizarro assertion that there is some great Muslim threat in England?”

Today, there is a budding Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, there are no Christians in Mosul for the first time in roughly 2,000 years, and American photojournalist James Foley is dead — thought to be beheaded by a British-rapper-turned-terrorist, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary.

The U.K. Independent reported Aug. 23:

A former rapper fighting with the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria is believed to be one of several British jihadists under investigation following the beheading of James Foley.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 24, was known as L Jinny or Lyricist Jinn at home in London, where his rising music career saw him appear in videos and have his singles played on BBC Radio in 2012.

He came to national attention earlier this year, when he posted a picture of himself holding a severed head on Twitter after resurfacing in Syria.

The gruesome picture, believed to have been taken in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, was captioned: “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.”

It may very well turn out that Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary isn’t the man who murdered James Foley. Why? Because roughly twice as many British Muslims are fighting for Islamic State than in the nation’s armed services.

Newsweek reported Aug 20:

There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP).

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years. …

Mahmood told Newsweek that this figure had been building since the start of the Syrian conflict: “If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, there are only around 600 British Muslims currently serving in the Armed Forces, making up approximately around 0.4% of total personnel. 4.3% of the British population are Muslim. …

“Their use of the internet is unlike anything we have seen before,” Charlie Cooper of the Quilliam Foundation said.

If that phrase sounds familiar, that’s because U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel believes the same thing.

While speaking at a joint press briefing with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Aug. 21, he said: “They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” Hagel said. “They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we’ve seen.”

That is not “scare mongering.” That is reality. Unfortunately, it is a reality that too many people still do not want to confront. And if you think Islamic State is only going after men, then think again. France knows the problem first-hand.

The Associated Press reported Aug. 22:

PARIS (AP) — Two French girls, aged 15 and 17, have been captured by a security net that authorities are using to ferret out citizens who are considering traveling to other countries to join jihads. …

France, with a Muslim population estimated at 5 million — the largest in Western Europe — is particularly concerned about the flight of youths to the battlefields.

French authorities say there are some 900 people from France who have been implicated in jihad — meaning they have taken part in one, plan to join one, or are returning from one. Several dozen have been killed.

How many young girls across Europe are hoping to join Islamic State’s all-female brigade in Raqqa, Syria? That’s an excellent question. Regardless, we are well past the stage where officials (and bloggers) who want to know the answer can be labeled by multi-culturalists as “scare mongers.”

Syria Deeply ISIL

Obama says ‘No just god would stand for ISIL,’ forgets that God gave humans free will

President Obama took time out from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation on Wednesday to give a press conference on the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley. In his remarks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant he made a curious statement: “No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” It sounds nice, but there is absolutely no reason to believe he is correct.

Here is an excerpt from the speech:

“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt.” — (President Obama, August 8, 2014).

Mr. Obama forgets one crucial point: God gave humans free will. C.S. Lewis puts it well in “The Problem of Pain.”

I have tried to show in a previous chapter that the possibility of pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet. When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men. It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.” — (C.S. Lewis, ‘The Problem of Pain’).

A God who values free will would be very just indeed to let humans stew in the evil juices of their own making.

In short, we have a president who doesn’t have a clear understanding of the threat posed by ISIL, as even Shadi Hamid of the liberal Brookings Institution points out: “Underestimating ISIS is dangerous, as Obama did when he referred to it as the ‘JV team’ of terrorism. Let’s not do that again.”

Obama JV Team ISISAnd we have a president whose understanding of a just God is constrained to his point of view. Mr. Obama does little to dispel charges of narcissism when he even tries to lock God into an ideological box of his own liking.

What is more likely: That Mr. Obama knows what actions a just God would permit on earth — or that God’s purpose in eternity would in fact leave room for evil, so that free agents could reject such a scourge and willingly come to Him?

The onus is not on God to stop ISIL — the onus is on humanity. Mr. Obama may have inadvertently tried to slip off the hard (and painful) responsibility for humans to stand up to evil, but intellectually honest individuals know that it can not be done. While God may be gracious enough to answer certain prayers, He is under no responsibility to save us from the countless sordid affairs we create for ourselves on a regular basis.

C.S. Lewis also said: “Until the evil man finds evil unmistakably present in his existence, in the form of pain, he is enclosed in illusion.” We have been enclosed in illusion for a long time. It is time to wake up.

Related: Islamic State beheads James Foley, then keeps the lights on in town; U.S. citizens left in the dark

Editor’s Note for regular readers: The book I am writing is heavily influenced by the idea put forth by C.S. Lewis that “pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet.” If that message resonates with you, then stay tuned.

Islamic State beheads James Foley, then keeps the lights on in town; U.S. citizens left in the dark

James Foley

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded U.S. photojournalist James Foley yesterday, and the news shot out across social media at lightening speed — but Americans have been kept in the dark about what it will take to defeat the terrorist group. As Islamic State and its tens-of-thousands of fighters dig in to large swathes of Iraq and Syria, we are being led to believe that random airstrikes, occasional Special Forces operations, and some new weapons in the hands of the Iraqi government will do the trick. Meanwhile, Islamic State is learning how to fill potholes and get the trash out on Thursdays.

The Obama administration is not being upfront about the nature of the threat, and in time that dishonesty will bring the sorrow felt by the Foley family to many other Americans.

James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, spoke with The Washington Times on Tuesday. During the interview, he indirectly reminded everyone that the group President Obama infamously referred to as the “J.V. team” are establishing themselves as a serious adversary.

It’s “a very provocative way of showing that you are still a force to be reckoned with” and not just “a bunch of losers,” he said. “In this part of the world, honor is power. It’s not about doing the right thing. [Honor] is as important to them as martyrdom.

The U.S. is setting itself up for failure because many of its policymakers a.) don’t understand (or want to understand) the threat posed by Islamic State and its allies around the globe, b.) what they do know they don’t accurately convey to the American people, and c.) they deal with the threat by creating the illusion that something is being done (e.g., random drone strikes), when in reality they are most-likely exacerbating the problem.

Meanwhile, Islamic State is using its time in charge of cities across the Middle East to learn how to govern.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported Monday:

The Obama administration’s escalating air war against the Islamic State is running up against a dispiriting new reality: The militants are becoming as good at governing territory as they are at conquering it, making it considerably harder to dislodge them from the broad swaths of Syria and Iraq that they now control.

U.S. intelligence officials say the leaders of the Islamic State are adopting methods first pioneered by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, and are devoting considerable human and financial resources toward keeping essential services like electricity, water, and sewage functioning in their territory. In some areas, they even operate post offices. …

Islamic State, already the best-armed and best-funded terror group in the world, is quickly adapting to the challenges of ruling and governing. That, in turn, dramatically reduces the chances that the extremists will face homegrown opposition in what amounts to the world’s newest territory.

“ISIS is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world because they combine the fighting capabilities of al Qaeda with the administrative capabilities of Hezbollah,” said David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who spent several years working as a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus during the height of the Iraq War. “It’s clear that they have a state-building agenda and an understanding of the importance of effective governance.”

Once again, it’s time to revisit David Remnick’s January interview  with President Obama in The New Yorker:

I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

Is the extermination of entire Christian populations in the Middle East worth wading into? We now know that it’s at least worth a few American air strikes along the side of a mountain. Is the beheading of American photojournalists worth wading into? Perhaps not a single person, but the mountain of heads is piling up mighty high in Syria and Iraq, and the guys wielding the instruments of death have openly stated their desire to bring terror to the Western world.

The Obama administration desperately wanted to believe that “extremist Islamic ideology” is something that is only a threat to “local” populations, when members of such groups state again and again that the goal is to build a worldwide Islamic caliphate. While it is much harder to expose Mr. Obama’s incompetence on domestic issues (e.g., The reason why Program X isn’t working is because it requires $10 billion more dollars on top of the $10 billion we’ve already spent, and the evil Republicans in the House aren’t working with me.), honest individuals can see that he is in way over his head on foreign policy. His fundamental misunderstanding of the threat posed by Islamic terrorists will have deadly repercussions for years to come.

If you get a moment, say a prayer for the Foley family. Then, say a prayer for the family of journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, who Islamic State is threatening to behead next.

Iraq to United Nations: We had chemical weapons and now Islamic State has them — sorry!

Last month it was reported that Iraqi chemical weapons had fallen in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) hands. Now, a letter by Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirms the seriousness of the situation.

Reuters reported Wednesday:

Iraq’s government has lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to “armed terrorist groups” and is unable to fulfill its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there, the country’s U.N. envoy told the United Nations.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made public on Tuesday, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the Muthanna facility north of Baghdad was seized on June 11. He said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.

“The project management spotted at dawn on Thursday, 12 June 2014, through the camera surveillance system, the looting of some of the project equipment and appliances, before the terrorists disabled the surveillance system,” Alhakim wrote in the letter dated June 30. …

“The Government of Iraq requests the States Members of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,” he said.

Translation: “Oops-e-doodle!”

In June, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said that it was “not likely” that the weapons would be used on anyone. How reassuring.

Given this latest news, it might be a good time for a flashback to January, 2014. You might remember a the moment in time where President Obama referred to ISIL as a “J.V. team” who were wannabe Kobe Bryants. (Note: flippantly referring to Islamic jihadists with sports analogies apparently proves to reporters and young voters that you are cool.)

The New Yorker’s David Remnick reported in January:

I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

It turns out the “J.V.” team now controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq. Would the president still say his analogy was “accurate”? It also turns out that the “horrible actions” taking place in Syria and Iraq are exactly what the president didn’t want us to think — the work of an Islamic ideology that is a direct threat to the United States.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi

Fact: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi told American troops in 2009 “I’ll see you in New York.”

Fact: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is now the “caliph” of Islamic State, a terrorist Army with weapons, funding, new recruits flocking to the region, and a scary-saavy understanding of social media platforms.

Add to this that Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri — the terrorist engineer behind the underwear bomb that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab used to try and bring down a Detroit airliner on Christmas, 2009 — and you’ve got a serious national security situation.

So George W. Bush is an idiot because there were no chemical weapons in Iraq — except that there is, by the admission of the Iraqi government to the United Nations. We now have a groveling letter to the international community asking countries to “understand” that Iraqi officials didn’t want to let those toxins get into the hands of terrorists, but that the “J.V.” team Obama laughed at wasn’t really a J.V. team. They were really hard-core Islamic radicals intent on creating a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

Here’s something else to chew on: the CDC freaked out on Tuesday because of six forgotten vials of smallpox at a Maryland lab, but yet terrorists steal two bunkers filled with chemical weapons in Iraq and George W. Bush is still a liar. (How does one forget that he has vials of smallpox in his possession?)

Reuters reported on the vials of smallpox on Tuesday:

Infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm said the discovery of abandoned vials of smallpox is a reminder to labs globally to take stock of what is in their freezers.

Although there have been concerns smallpox could be used in bioterrorism, the CDC says the chances of that occurring are very low. Currently, the government has a stockpile containing enough vaccine for every U.S. citizen.

The bigger threat, Osterholm said, is that these vials could have fallen into the hands of someone who would convert them into an aerosolized form and use them as a bioterror weapon.

“That could be a disaster,” he said.

Apparently the standard for finding chemical weapons in Iraq isn’t a handful of vials or even bunkers filled with chemical weapons, but a large castle with a neon glowing sign that says in Arabic and English “Chemical Weapons Found Here!” where Iraqi soldiers in Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP gear) roll around in chemical weapons like Scrooge McDuck rolls around in money.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing reporters grill the president on his “accurate” assessment that ISIL is just a “local” group of Sunni malcontents with no long term plans to attack Americans or American interests around the globe. Or not, because Mr. Obama was sold as the world’s most intelligent man and now media personalities are invested in saving their last remaining bits of credibility.