Cumberbatch says ‘F–k the politicians,’ goes home to mansion; actor silent on Sumte, Germany

Benedict Cumberbatch

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” is acting mighty peculiar when it comes to the millions of migrants from the Middle East and northern Africa flooding into Europe. Benedict Cumberbatch says politicians aren’t doing enough, which is odd considering towns like Sumte, Germany (population: 100), have been ordered to accept 750 migrants.

The Hollywood Reporter details what the actor is telling audiences after his “Hamlet” performances in London:

Benedict Cumberbatch spontaneously shared a message onstage: “F— the politicians.”

The actor, currently starring in Hamlet on the West End, made the comment on Tuesday during his now-regular post-performance plea for support of the Syrian refugee crisis, according to the Telegraph.

While asking for donations from London’s Barbican Theatre stage, he also called it an “utter disgrace of the British government” for not doing more to pacify the crisis.

What does Mr. Cumberbatch suggest British officials do? Should they mimic Germany and open the door to 800,000 migrants before the end of the year? Should they dive head-first into militarily action in Syria and Iraq? Like most actors who wade into public policy debates, he avoids specifics. Detailed plans are not conducive to feel-good platitudes or telling others to “f–k” themselves.

Syrian migrants

The New York Times reported Oct. 31:

In early October, the district government informed Sumte’s mayor, Christian Fabel, by email that his village of 102 people just over the border in what was once Communist East Germany would take in 1,000 asylum seekers.

His wife, the mayor said, assured him it must be a hoax. “It certainly can’t be true” that such a small, isolated place would be asked to accommodate nearly 10 times as many migrants as it had residents, she told him. “She thought it was a joke,” he said.

But it was not. Sumte has become a showcase of the extreme pressures bearing down on Germany as it scrambles to find shelter for what, by the end of the year, could be well over a million people seeking refuge from poverty or wars in Africa, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In a small concession to the villagers, Alexander Götz, a regional official from Lower Saxony, told them this week that the initial number of refugees, who start arriving on Monday and will be housed in empty office buildings, would be kept to 500, and limited to 750 in all.

Before Mr. Cumberbatch retires to his mansion in a gated community, or heads off for a beach vacation on the other side of the world, he says “F–k the politicians” — but that apparently doesn’t pertain to European politicians who are fundamentally transforming entire towns overnight.

Sumte

One a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 being “I love Jews,” and 10 being “Kill the Jews,” what will the town of Sumte, Germany’s average score be with its news residents?

On a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 being, “Gay people should be treated with dignity and respect,” and 10 being, “Kill gay people,” what will the town of Sumte,Germany’s average score be with its new residents?

On a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 being, “I love Benedict Cumberbatch,” and 10 being, “I don’t know Benedict Cumberbatch, but if he’s an infidel then he should probably die,” what will the town of Sumte, Germany’s average score be with its new residents?

Towns all across Europe aren’t just being asked to take in a few migrants here and there — they are literally being culturally upended. Citizens of small towns in Germany and Austria and Hungary are now cultural minorities, and they are supposed to like it.

Indeed, European politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel should certainly be excoriated for their handling of the refugee crisis, but not for doing “too little.”

Cumberbatch’s “Hamlet” is playing in London’s West End. Perhaps London should take in enough migrants so that Londoners are outnumbered 7-to-1 by men and women from Syria, Libya, and northern Africa. Then we can fast-forward in time 20 years and see if the local population still appreciates Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

My guess is that Mr. Cumberbatch would live far away from such a cultural reality.

‘1980s are now calling’ mockery of Romney haunts Obama: Putin takes control in Syria

Obama Romney 80s joke

It was only a few short years ago that President Obama openly mocked Mitt Romney for saying Russia was the greatest geopolitical threat to the America. Certain segments of the media thought his “zinger” was downright hilarious. Fast forward three years and Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea, is primed to do the same in eastern Ukraine, and put himself in the driver’s seat in Syria.

The Huffington Post reported Oct. 22, 2012:

During the presidential debate on Monday evening, President Barack Obama deployed a Seinfeldian zinger to mock former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee. Romney had said that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are “rushing in” as revolutions shake up the Muslim world.

“Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat,” Obama said, “because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia.”

“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama said.

What Mr. Obama didn’t realize is that the Cold War never ended for Vladimir Putin, which is odd because the Russian’s public statements have always made that very clear.

Reuters reported Thursday, Oct 1, 2015:

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria to join a major ground offensive on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, sources said on Thursday, a further sign of the rapid internationalization of a civil war in which every major country in the region has a stake.

Russian warplanes bombed a camp run by rebels trained by the CIA, the group’s commander said, putting Moscow and Washington on opposing sides in a Middle East conflict for the first time since the Cold War.

The U.S. and Russian militaries will hold talks at 11 a.m. EDT via video link to seek ways to keep their militaries apart as they wage parallel campaigns of air strikes in Syria, a U.S. defense official said.

Russian jets struck targets near the cities of Hama and Homs in western Syria on the second day of their surprise air campaign, which they launched on Wednesday.

Moscow said it had hit Islamic State positions, but the area where it struck is held by a rival insurgent alliance, which unlike Islamic State is supported by U.S. allies including Arab states and Turkey.

The problem with the Obama administration is that America’s adversaries around the globe telegraph exactly what their intentions are, and yet Mr. Obama and his hand-picked staff refuse to take them at their word.

Arizona Sen. John McCain pointed out this strange behavior out Wednesday on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell:

John Kerry and his spokesperson said it is not clear what Russia’s intentions are. It was perfectly clear what Russia’s intentions are!”

A flashback to July 21 shows Kerry was also confused by Iran’s vow to undermine U.S. policy, which was made immediately after agreeing to a nuclear “deal” with the Obama administration.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday vowing to defy American policies in the region despite a deal with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program was “very troubling”.

I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said in the interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling,” he added.

Why is Mr. Kerry always confused? Perhaps it is because he mistakes U.S. fallibility (a trait of all nations) with the idea that threats exist because America is, for all intents and purposes, always at fault.

Mitt Romney knew what he was talking about in 2012, and the president sneered at him. The media laughed along with the “Seinfeldian zinger” – but the real joke was on the American people.

The only people who are laughing now are the Russians, the Iranians, the Assad regime and their allies all around the globe.

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.

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

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

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

Senior national security correspondent Nancy Youssef reported Friday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military Times reported Friday:

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

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

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

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

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

2016 cannot come soon enough.

Obama hands AP image

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

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

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

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

Cicero Magazine reported Feb. 4:

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

Fox News reported Feb. 7:

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

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

ABC News reported Feb. 8:

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

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

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

CNN reported Feb. 8:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama plan crashes: ‘Moderate’ Syrian rebels defect to al Qaeda offshoot with U.S. weapons

Obama under stressThe Obama administration’s plan to arm “moderate” Syrian rebels is off to a swell start, if you define “swell” as “absolutely horrible.”

The Washington Post reported Nov. 2:

BEIRUT — The Obama administration’s Syria strategy suffered a major setback Sunday after fighters linked to al-Qaeda routed U.S.-backed rebels from their main northern strongholds, capturing significant quantities of weaponry, triggering widespread defections and ending hopes that Washington will readily find Syrian partners in its war against the Islamic State.

Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts.

Every time the Western world tries to “negotiate” with Taliban leaders, it ends badly. Every time the U.S. tries to arm “moderate” Islamic fighters somewhere, it ends badly. You can not negotiate with people who inherently believe that you are evil and need to die. Likewise, those who hold the “moderate” version of such a belief system (i.e., “I think you should die, but I’m willing to shift the execution date for some cash and weapons,”) should not be armed and then left to their own devices.

This is common sense, and yet over and over again the masterminds in Washington, D.C. think that if only they are put in charge — if only they are sitting at the negotiation table — things will be different. The outcome never changes because the groups who seek to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate will never deviate from their ultimate goal, even if they have to use deception to make it happen.

The only way to seriously change conditions on the ground is to be fully invested in the outcome. President Obama quite clearly wants as little to do with the Middle East as possible, despite naming the U.S.-led mission “Operation Inherent Resolve,” and the results will continue to favor the Islamic State group until a sitting U.S. president gets serious about the situation.

As has been said on this blog before, the president is so unwilling to accurately define America’s enemies that has gone on national television and said with a straight face that the Islamic State group is not Islamic. If a U.S. president fundamentally does not understand the nation’s enemies and does not have the stomach for a fight with them — let alone the strength needed to rally the American people in support of the cause — there should be no question as to which side will transform the world in its favor.

Obama now linked to ‘Operation Inherent Resolve’ — or was that ‘Inherently Flawed’?

Obama APThe Obama administration has, at long last, a name for U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group: Operation Inherent Resolve. It needed to come kicking and screaming to the table, but the name now stands.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday:

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s less punchy than previous nicknames for U.S. conflicts in the Middle East — remember Operation Desert Storm and its thunderous attacks against Saddam Hussein? — but the Pentagon has finally named its fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria: Operation Inherent Resolve.

The naming, which took weeks of deliberation behind closed doors at U.S. Central Command and at the Pentagon, is part of an effort to organize a long-term military campaign.

Personally, I was hoping the White House would go with Operation Kobe Bryant, but that didn’t happen.

Just days ago I said: “The logic seems to be that if President Obama can just eek out two years without naming operations in Iraq and Syria, then perhaps the never-ending mudslide of time will have an easier job of washing it all away…” Little did I know that the Wall Street Journal talked to military officials on Oct. 3, who conveyed that very same message.

Here is what the Journal’s Julian E. Barnes found out while writing ‘Operation Name-That-Mission: The Hunt for Military Monikers’:

“The delay over naming the Iraq and Syria mission has led some to suggest politics is at play. The latest war, some officials said, is one the Obama administration didn’t seek or eagerly embrace. ‘If you name it, you own it,’ said a defense official. “And they don’t want to own it.”

The Obama administration now owns “it” — whatever that “it” is. For months now the non-strategy of a strategy has seemed to be “No boots on the ground!”, which may be why U.S. officials are trying to spin Islamic State’s push towards Baghdad into “strategic momentum” for its coalition.

Politico reported Tuesday:

The terrorists of the Islamic State have “tactical momentum on several fronts,” but the U.S. and its allies believe they have “strategic momentum,” the nations’ defense chiefs agreed Tuesday.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and 21 of his senior counterparts from the coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also agreed that ISIL has been dangerously effective in its propaganda war, a military official said, and the allies must do more to counter it.

When one reads the news they must always be on the lookout for strange euphemisms, diplo-babble, and legerdemain lexical wizardry from officials. The use of “strategic momentum” certainly qualifies when they speak on operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. When one wants to hear what is really going on, that individual should pay more attention to guys like Gen. Ray Odierno, who are regarded as straight shooters.

The Hill reported Monday:

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday he is “somewhat” confident that the Iraqi army can defend Baghdad from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I believe the capability is there to defend Baghdad. … But we’ll have to see what plays out over the coming days,” he told reporters at the Association of the United States Army on Monday.

Defense officials are urging patience with the U.S. strategy against ISIS, even as the group makes gains in western Iraq and on the Syrian border town of Kobani.

ISIS appears to be advancing closer and closer to Baghdad, however, where at least several hundred American troops and civilians are stationed.

If the U.S. is only “somewhat” confident in the 60,000 Iraqi troops tasked with protecting Baghdad, then it is hard to see how officials can say the coalition has any kind of momentum. Regardless, it is clear that the Obama administration is going to need an extraordinary level of “resolve” to make Operation Inherent Resolve a success. Right now, however, it appears to think that dropping bombs for a couple years will buy it enough time to pass the baton to the next president.

Remember: The more a U.S. official sounds like he’s been getting his talking points from the Ministry of Truth, the more closely you have to pay attention to what he is saying. Then, and only then, will you have a chance at discerning what he honestly believes.

Gen. Dempsey looks like tired and dejected man as he talks about no-name fight against Islamic State

Martin Dempsey ABC screenshotIf you’re wondering why U.S. military personnel heading to West Africa to help stem the tide of Ebola are taking part in Operation United Assistance, and the troops heading to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State group are still taking part in a no-name operation, just watch ABC News’ recent interview with Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Listen to his tone. Look at his face. Take note of his delivery. You will see a tired and dejected man who wants to crawl into a corner and stay there for weeks because he knows that he has been given a task from his worst nightmares.

ABC News reported Oct. 7 on the Islamic State group’s advances into the Syrian city of Kobani:

Martha Raddatz: What are you hearing? What are you seeing?

Gen. Dempsey: Well, it may be about to fall. The ISIL fighters have been putting pressure on the outskirts of the city and in fact into the city itself. And in fact I just got off the phone with my Turkish counterpart about it.

Martha Raddatz: And what did they say?

Gen. Dempsey: Well, they are obviously tracking it just like we are. They’ve got forces on their side of the border that will prevent ISIL from making any incursions into Turkey, but of course ISIL is smart enough not to do that. I am fearful that Kobani will fall. We have been striking when we can. ISIL is a learning enemy and they know how to maneuver  and how to use populations and concealment, and so when we get a target we will take it.

Martha Raddatz: And when you talk about ISIL and ISIS blending into the population, what are you seeing? How are they doing that?

Gen. Dempsey:  They’re becoming more savvy with the use of electronic devices. They don’t fly flags and move around in large convoys the way the did. They don’t establish headquarters that are visible or identifiable. There are ways that over time we can learn about them as they adapt, but they are changing.

Martha Raddatz: How serious is it if Kobani falls? I think the Kurdish intelligence official was quoted as saying “A terrible slaughter is coming. If they take this city we should expect to have 5,000 dead within 24 or 36 hours.”

Gen. Dempsey:“We think that most of the residents have actually fled. Whether there are still 5,000 people there or not is a matter of conjecture at this point. I have no doubt that ISIL will conduct the same kind of horrific atrocities if they have the opportunity to do so.”

If you have a roach problem, and all you do is spray some insecticide on the critters every time they crawl across the kitchen floor, then you will always have a roach problem. In fact, they will continue breeding in the walls of your home. Slowly but surely they will make your home their home, and they will continue to do so until you are prepared to seriously deal with the problem. Likewise, random airstrikes on the Islamic State group each week will not root out the terrorist organization from its well-entrenched positions in Iraq and Syria.

Retired Lt. Gen. David Barno accurately explained the situation in late September:

“The effects of airstrikes and Tomahawk strikes … are not enduring: They’re transient and as soon as the last bomb falls, the enemy begins to rebuild and readjust. In many, many ways, it’s very difficult to achieve lasting effects and consolidate any kind of success without having some kind of force actually make that permanent. It doesn’t have to be American troops.”

Is it any wonder that the fight against Islamic State still does not have a name? What sort of Pentagon official — or president — would want to have their name attached to it at this point? Jimmy Carter will forever be known as the guy who ordered Operation Eagle Claw, and now the logic seems to be that if President Obama can just eek out two years without naming operations in Iraq and Syria, then perhaps the never-ending mudslide of time will have an easier job of washing it all away…

Now that Marine Cpl. Jordan Spears is officially the first military death in President Obama’s no-name operations against the Islamic State group, people will begin to ask what he died for. The price tag (roughly $1 billion for three months of airstrikes) will also put pressure on the Obama administration to name its ongoing military engagement. In time, one would think the White House would be forced to relent, but there should be no mistake as to why the foot-dragging is taking place: no one wants to name their own failures.

Just as the Islamic State group has adjusted to changing conditions on the ground, it is possible for the Obama administration to adopt a winning strategy. Hopefully, men like Gen. Dempsey will repeatedly tell the president what he needs to hear behind the scenes until Mr. Obama listens to reason.

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.

‘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.