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President Obama has no fiercer defender than Rep. Betty McCollum, the Democrat representing Minnesota’s 4th District. That doesn’t mean she’s accomplished much. It just means she’s represented a district that’s as competitive of a district as Nancy Pelosi’s. Rep. McCollum’s op-ed reads like something approved by President Obama himself and possibly written by Susan Rice with the assistance of Ben Rhodes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated reelection campaign. Yet he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on March 3 — just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), working with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, a former Republican political operative who renounced his U.S. citizenship, extended the invitation in a clear effort to undermine the president while the United States and its five partners engage in tough negotiations with Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, a national security priority I strongly support.

TRANSLATION: Rep. McCollum hates Israel. What’s worse is that she supports President Obama’s bad faith negotiations with Iran that is aimed at giving Iran the time it needs to enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon. Any statements that President Obama is trying to prevent Iran “from obtaining nuclear weapons” is BS.

Charles Krauthammer’s article blows that myth to smithereens:

The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed … development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

That doesn’t sound like President Obama is working tirelessly to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting a nuclear weapon. That sounds like President Obama has given Iran permission to build nuclear weapons.

Here’s more of Rep. McCollum’s BS:

“To think about going behind the back of a friendly country’s administration and working out this kind of arrangement with the parliament or the Congress — it’s unheard of,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. Such an unprecedented lack of respect toward a U.S. president has not gone unnoticed in Israel, either.

Rep. McCollum expects Israel to respect a president who’s handing a nuclear weapon to Iran, still the biggest state sponsor of terrorism? That’s frightening, especially considering this information:

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping, and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy. Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental-ballistic-missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations. Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads.

In other words, Rep. McCollum supports Iran getting the capability to launch ICBMs. She supports Iran having the ability to hit NYC with nuclear weapons.

Basharat concluded his Haaretz column by saying, “Any leader who tried to do to the Americans what Netanyahu has done would be ejected immediately, not from Washington but from office in his home country.” That’s one opinion. I will respectfully leave that choice to Israeli voters. In the meantime, I will respectfully abstain from attending Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign rally.

That’s laughable. After Rep. McCollum does a hatchet job on one of America’s staunchest allies, she then pretends that she doesn’t care who wins the Israeli elections. I believe that like I believe that waving a red cape in a bull’s face won’t provoke an attack. That’s why Minnesotans think Rep. McCollum is a joke.

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This ABC article highlights just how much the Obama administration’s disgust with Israel has grown. Relations between Israel and the US have never been this frosty. President Obama apparently intends on giving Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu the cold shoulder treatment when he visits DC:

In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is mulling ways to undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.

There are limits. Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. But other options remain on the table.

Among them: a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials.

The administration has already ruled out meetings between Netanyahu and Obama, saying it would be inappropriate for the two to meet so close to Israel’s March 17 elections. But the White House is now doubling down on a cold-shoulder strategy, including dispatching Cabinet members out of the country and sending a lower-ranking official than normal to represent the administration at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the officials said.

It’s apparent that President Obama’s disgust with Israel isn’t going away anytime soon. It isn’t surprising that he’s got the chilliest relationship with Israel of all the US presidents since Israel became a nation in 1948.

Vice President Joe Biden will be away, his absence behind Netanyahu conspicuous in coverage of the speech to Congress. Other options were described by officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

President Obama’s childishness has never been more on display than right now. He’s acting like a petulant little child who’s throwing a hissy fit because he isn’t getting his way.

U.S. officials believe Netanyahu’s trip to Washington is aimed primarily at derailing a nuclear deal with Iran, Obama’s signature foreign policy objective. While Netanyahu has long been skeptical of the negotiations, his opposition has increased over what he sees as Obama’s willingness to make concessions that would leave Iran on the brink of being able to build a nuclear weapon. His opposition has intensified as negotiations go into overdrive with an end-of-March deadline for a framework deal.

It’s frightening that the Obama administration thinks that letting Iran become a nuclear power is an “accomplishment.” I’d consider it a failure of historic proportions. Giving the leading terrorist nation nuclear weapons is stupid. Prime Minister Netanyahu is right in being worried about Iran going nuclear.

A true ally, which the Obama administration and most Democrats aren’t, wouldn’t let Iran get a nuclear weapon. This is just further proof that this administration doesn’t see the world that exists. It sees the world it wants to exist.

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Rick Santorum’s op-ed totally demolishes Rand Paul’s credibility on national security:

In a radio interview in 2007, while helping his father, isolationist Rep. Ron Paul, run for president, Rand actually denied that Iran is a threat to the United States or Israel. He did so despite the fact that the U.S. government designated Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism” as far back as 1984. “Even our own intelligence community consensus opinion now is that they [Iran] are not a threat,” Rand said. “Like my dad says, [the Iranians] don’t have an Air Force, they don’t have a Navy. You know, it’s ridiculous to think they’re a threat to our national security…. It’s not even that viable to say they’re a national threat to Israel.”

Simply put, Rand Paul, like his nutty father, couldn’t identify a state sponsor or terrorism if they launched a ship with a flag saying “State sponsor of terrorism.” People who can’t identify terrorists aren’t qualified to be commander-in-chief. It’s that simple.

It hasn’t dawned on either Paul that Iran’s funding of terrorists pose a mortal threat to western Europe and the United States. Neither has figured out that the nuclear bombs they’re working on creating will be used to destabilize Arab nations to the point that oil prices will spike and throw the world economy into a turmoil that will make the Great Recession look relatively mild in comparison.

This paragraph is mind-boggling:

In January 2014, Senator Paul sided with President Obama in opposing the passage of new economic sanctions on Iran, further evidence he would rather appease the mullahs in Tehran than ratchet up pressure on them to give up their illegal and dangerous nuclear program. “I think while they [the Iranians] are negotiating, and if we can see they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions,” Paul told CNN.

What idiot thinks that the Iranians will negotiate in good faith? It’s exceptionally and frighteningly naive to think that that’s a possibility.

As frightening as Paul’s beliefs are about Iran, they’re worse about ISIL. Here’s what he said in an interview:

When asked by CongressWatch if he views ISIL and the deteriorating situation in Iraq as a direct threat to the United States, Paul was characteristically candid in sticking to his worldview.

“The vast amount of Americans disagree with that assessment,” Paul said when asked if ISIL poses a direct threat to the US.

“I think that would be conjecture,” Paul said when asked about the view of ISIL put forth by Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “We know that there’s a civil war going on there. And we know that they want to claim a big chunk of Iraq — as much as they can get. But, I mean, anything else is complete conjecture.

“Are they a potential threat to the US? Sometime,” Paul said. “Maybe even at the present. But…is there a US interest in sending US troops into Iraq? Absolutely no.”

There most certainly is a US interest in obliterating ISIL. While they don’t pose a threat to the US homeland in the next couple of weeks, they’re consolidating the things they’ll need to conduct terrorist operations throughout the world. We can’t afford a commander-in-chief that reacts after a terrorist attack. We need a commander-in-chief who obliterates them before they can attack.

Paul’s dovishness is wrong for America because we need a commander-in-chief who will work with allies like the Kurdish Peshmerga to decimate threats like ISIL before they can kill Americans.

Now that ISIL has beheaded journalists and taken over a huge chunk of Iraq, Sen. Paul is suddenly hawkish:

Yet now, with American journalists being beheaded and even President Obama taking reluctant half-measures to slow ISIL through air strikes, Senator Paul is suddenly changing his tune. “If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress,” he now says. “I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek Congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.” (ISIS is another acronym used to refer to the Islamic State.)

It’s here that Sen. Santorum thrusts in the proverbial knife and gives it a sharp twist:

Did Senator Paul just hire John Kerry’s speechwriter?

At one point, I thought Rand Paul wouldn’t be the nujob that his father is. I still think he isn’t as nutty as his father. I just don’t think that there’s a big difference between him and his father as I first thought.

It’s obvious that Rick Santorum is gearing up for another presidential run. While I think he’s more qualified than Rand Paul, that doesn’t mean I think he’s a top tier candidate. Quite the contrary. I think he’s a niche candidate who appeals to a tiny slice of the GOP, nothing more.

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At a DNC fundraiser in New York last night, President Obama said that the world isn’t falling apart, it’s just that social media is making him look bad:

President Obama on Friday said social media and the nightly news are partly to blame for the sense that “the world is falling apart.”

“I can see why a lot of folks are troubled,” Obama told a group of donors gathered at a Democratic National Committee barbecue in Purchase, N.Y. But the president said that current foreign policy crises across the world are not comparable to the challenges the U.S. faced during the Cold War.

There’s no question that social media spreads the news around quickly. That doesn’t explain away the multitude of crises that’ve started during President Obama’s administration or the threat posed by ISIL.

President Putin doesn’t take him seriously. At best, the Obama administration is an afterthought to Putin. America’s allies don’t trust us because of amateurish moves like dissing allies like Egypt in attempting to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians.

Egypt and the UAE hit Libyan targets without informing the Obama administration:

CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.

The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo.

America’s enemies don’t fear us. Iran and Russia laugh at the Obama administration. Putin keeps trying to rebuild the former Soviet empire and Iran continues on its path to a nuclear weapon.

Worst of all, ISIL is the biggest terrorist threat in history. They’re exceptionally well-financed. They have a military capable of dominating the Arabian Peninsula. They’re training fighters who have European and/or American passports.

No, Mr. President, it isn’t that social media is spotlighting the usual things. It’s that they’re highlighting your administration’s multitude of mistakes. Mr. President, there’s wide consensus that your administration is the worst foreign policy/national security administration since WWII.

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While watching the O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night, I was pissed to hear how ISIS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, had essentially rolled back the military gains made by the Bush administration. Put differently, the Obama administration is in the process of losing a war that the Bush administration had won. I know because I wrote about it back in November, 2007:

Since the last soldiers of the “surge” deployed last May, Baghdad has undergone a remarkable transformation.

No longer do the streets empty at dusk. Liquor stores and cinemas have reopened for business. Some shops stay open until late into the evening. Children play in parks, young women stay out after dark, restaurants are filled with families and old men sit at sidewalk cafes playing backgammon and smoking shisha pipes.

Compare that description with this article:

They have live-tweeted amputations, carried out public crucifixions and have been disavowed as too extreme by al-Qaeda. Now they have taken over Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city. They are the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, a group of extremist Sunni Islamist militants, and they are rapidly becoming one of the deadliest and most prolific insurgent groups in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, ISIS fighters led a surprise attack on government locations in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

The assault was so brutal that soldiers in the Iraqi army left their posts and in some cases even their uniforms as they fled en masse, according to a report by the Washington Post. The assault has left the terror group in control of the city’s airport, army base and other vital infrastructure. It provided them with cash from the city’s banks and weapons from the local military posts. As the BBC notes, the fighting has also resulted in the rapid and fearful exodus of hundreds of thousands of people.

The seizure of Mosul is the latest event in the the rise of ISIS, once merely one of the many al-Qaeda-linked franchises that occupied the fractious and insecure regions of Syria and Iraq, but now a powerful autonomous entity that holds significant territory and resources.

The truth is that President Obama was hell-bent on getting out of Iraq even if it meant losing the war that President Bush had won. The Anbar Awakening scuttled al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Sunnis kicked the terrorists out of northern and western Iraq, erasing their footprint in cities like Fallujah, Tikrit, Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk. Now ISIS has recaptured most of western and northern Iraq, including Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit. Here’s a map of the territory now controled by ISIS:

Thanks to President Obama’s insistence on getting out of Iraq regardless of the consequences, radical Sunni Islamists now control most of Iraq and Syria. Thanks to President Obama’s decision to let al-Qa’ida establish a Muslim caliphate in Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit, hundreds of soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice for nothing.

That’s just getting started. These terrorists will use that territory to train terrorists to spread jihad throughout the world. That will happen even though President Obama won’t admit that. It won’t happen during the last 2 years of his administration but it’ll happen as sure as the sun sets in the west.

This information should frighten westerners:

The assault has left the terror group in control of the city’s airport, army base and other vital infrastructure. It provided them with cash from the city’s banks and weapons from the local military posts.

In other words, this terrorist network has the wherewithal to plan attacks, buy the material for those attacks and have the sanctuary to train terrorists for a new round of terrorist attacks anywhere in the world. It’s a safe bet those attacks won’t be focused on Russia or Iran. It’s assumed those terrorist attacks will first hit Israel, western Europe and the United States.

Unfortunately, this administration hasn’t demonstrated that they care about this new terrorist organization. This administration talks about destroying “core al-Qa’ida.” ISIS is like core al-Qa’ida on steroids and HGH.

Thanks to President Obama’s decision to lose the war in Iraq, whether that was intentional or not, and his decision to get out of Afghanistan after releasing the Taliban 5 and his decision to side with the Iranian mullahs while Iranians were protesting their elections, President Obama has made southwest Asia and the Middle East a hotbed for terrorism.

The world will be a far more dangerous place to live than when he was sworn in. Check back later today for Part II of this series.

Minutes after President Obama said that it’s too early to tell who detonated the Boston Marathon bombs, David Axelrod suggested that the White House thought it was a white guy because of Tax Day. Barney Frank then used the terrorist attack as an opportunity to say that the terrorist attack was proof we needed to raise taxes. This morning, Salon’s David Sirota wrote this column to say that he hopes the terrorist is a white guy:

As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing, the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity, the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks. That’s because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are, and are not, collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.

This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings, even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats, the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.

Let’s be clear about something important from the outset. The FBI’s investigation should go only where the forensic evidence takes them. If forensic scientists determine that the bombs’ markers suggest that the bombs were patterned after the Iranian-manufactured IEDs that were detonated against US troops in Iraq, then that’s where their investigation should take them.

If the bombs’ components suggest they were the work of a lone wolf domestic terrorist, that’s the direction the investigation should head in.

Next, in the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush made clear that his national security team would welcome US mosques’ help in tracking down terrorists. As the investigation into terrorist networks gathered information, he talked about specific Saudi, Pakistani and Egyptian madrassas as producing terrorists.

In other words, the accusations were based on the information that was gathered during their investigation, not because the Bush administration had it in for Muslims.

By contrast, the FBI hasn’t uncovered a system of white guy training grounds to kill abortionists and others they don’t agree with. For instance, the FBI didn’t find a string of militias started in Tim McVeigh’s honor. That means white guys who’ve committed acts of terror have acted without a network of support, thus fitting the description of acting as lone wolf terrorists.

Sirota then made this reference:

By contrast, even though America has seen a consistent barrage of attacks from domestic non-Islamic terrorists, the privilege and double standards baked into our national security ideologies means those attacks have resulted in no systemic action of the scope marshaled against foreign terrorists. In fact, it has been quite the opposite, according to Darryl Johnson, the senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, the conservative movement backlash to merely reporting the rising threat of such domestic terrorism resulted in DHS seriously curtailing its initiatives against that particular threat. (Irony alert: When it comes specifically to fighting white non-Muslim domestic terrorists, the right seems to now support the very doctrine it criticized Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for articulating, the doctrine that sees fighting terrorism as primarily “an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement, public-diplomacy effort” and not something more systemic.)

The Crooks and Liars post refers to Jared Loughner, the man who attacked Gabby Giffords in Tuscon. The Loughner attack on Giffords was tragic but it wasn’t the act of a terrorist. It was an attack by a crazed madman who didn’t have control of his faculties. Comparing Loughner’s attack with the Boston Marathon terrorist attack is foolish.

First, there’s no proof that Laughner pre-planned his attack. There’s tons of proof that the Boston Marathon terrorist attack was pre-planned. Loughner bought ammunition for his gun, then went out and shot a bunch of innocent people. The Boston Marathon terrorist or terrorists bought the bombs’ components, put them together, deployed them to specific locations designed to create the most bloodshed and fear possible.

It’s right to say that the Boston Marathon terrorist attack was pre-planned while the Loughner attack, though tragic, didn’t require any planning.

Second, as to the point about then-Candidate Kerry being right, that’s laughable. Reading terrorists their rights isn’t being right. Passing a global test isn’t being right. Pretending that killing the Taliban in Afghanistan was all that was needed to end the war isn’t being right.

When a domestic terrorist is captured, like the Lackawanna Six, the Bush administration used law enforcement. They applied for and got search warrants through the FISA Courts. When the NSA picked up chatter about a terrorist network while they surveiled terrorists in Pakistan or Afghanistan, the Bush administration used the CIA or other special forces to roll up entire networks of terrorists.

In other words, the Bush administration policy towards terrorists was complex and multi-faceted whereas the Kerry plan wasn’t multi-faceted. It relied on reading all terrorists their Miranda rights, then hoping they could find out about the terrorists’ networks by having a conversation with the terrorists.

Treating Jared Loughner and Tim McVeigh differently than foreign terrorists makes sense because the specifics are dramatically different. Loughner didn’t pre-plan his attack. McVeigh pre-planned his attack but he wasn’t assisted by a vast network of like-minded terrorists. Only time will tell whether the Boston Marathon terrorist attack was supported by a network of like-minded terrorists.

Simply put, let’s hope the FBI captures the terrorist or terrorists before they can strike again.

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Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison haven’t been accused recently of being national security hawks. After reading this statement, I’m pretty certain they’ll never be considered serious about national security:

Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the “Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act,” which would create a high level Special Envoy to Iran. The act pushes diplomacy as a vital route to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights.

“The darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are troubling. We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact policy and begin negotiations,” Congresswoman Lee said.

The bill calls for eliminating the State Department’s ‘no contact’ policy that prevents State Department officers and employees from making any direct contact with Iranian counterparts. The bill outlines measures to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran.

Original cosponsors include Representatives Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, John Dingell, Keith Ellison, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson, James McGovern, Jim Moran, Betty McCollum, and Bobby Rush.

That’s quite a list of doves. Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against going to war with Afghanistan after 9/11. (It takes divine intervention to get to the left of Dennis Kucinich on national security.)

Hank Johnson is famous for saying that he thought Guam would capsize if troops then stationed in Iraq were redeployed to Guam:

Rather than focus on the goofy people that signed onto this legislation as co-sponsors, though, it’s important to notice that the policy that’s being espoused sends a terrible signal of weakness to the terrorists. What’s more is this policy is most likely to embolden terrorists. If the terrorists think that they can threaten the West, why wouldn’t they think that they can get away with much more than threats?

Follow this link for more on this topic.

When I watched Fox News Sunday yesterday, I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. This video of Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham was stunning for reasons that will become clear to everyone who watches it:

Here’s a partial transcript of the jawdropping parts:

SEN. DURBIN: What I find hard to accept — I have to disagree with my friend Sen. Graham — is this notion about the president’s foreign policy. The president has been a strong and steady leader. We have responsibly ended the war in Iraq. We are going to end the war in Afghanistan. Al-Qa’ida is a shadow of its former self. Osama bin Laden is moldering in some watery grave somewhere. And we’ve now put enough pressure on Iran with the sanctions regime that they won’t develop a nuclear weapon that they now want to sit down and talk. These are all positive things.

This is incredible. For the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate to say that “al-Qa’ida is shadow of its former self” is heaping dirt on Christopher Stevens’ grave. Do the pictures from Benghazi look like al-Qa’ida is “a shadow of its former self”? Does Sen. Durbin think that the al-Qa’ida flag flying at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is proof of his insulting statement?

This is what’s known as Sen. Durbin taking one for the team.

It’s jawdropping that Sen. Durbin could say that this administration had “responsibly ended the war in Iraq” when al-Qa’ida is rebuilding in western Iraq:

Iraqi and U.S. officials say al Qaeda is rebuilding in Iraq.

The officials say the extremist group has set up training camps for insurgents in the nation’s western deserts, seizing on regional instability and government security failures.

Iraq has seen a jump in al Qaeda attacks over the last 10 weeks, and officials believe most of the fighters are former prisoners who have either escaped from jail or were released by Iraqi authorities for lack of evidence after the U.S. military withdrawal last December. Many are said to be Saudi or from Sunni-dominated Gulf states.

During the war and its aftermath, U.S. forces, joined by allied Sunni groups and later by Iraqi counterterror forces, managed to beat back al Qaeda’s Iraqi branch.

But now, Iraqi and U.S. officials say, the insurgent group has more than doubled in numbers from a year ago to about 2,500 fighters. And Pentagon data shows it is carrying out an average of 140 attacks a week.

As a direct result of the Obama administration’s failure to put in place an agreement with the Iraqi government to keep troops strategically positioned in Iraq, al-Qa’ida is now rebuilding, training and carrying out attacks inside Iraq.

That isn’t the only place where al-Qa’ida and their affiliates are regrouping, as Sen. Graham points out in this last word:

Iraq is falling apart. Bin Laden may be dead. Al-Qa’ida is on the rise. If you don’t believe me, visit the training camps that have sprung up after we left. Syria is a contagion affecting the region. Thirty-two thousand people have been killed while we’ve been doing nothing. Islamic extremists are beginning to infiltrate Syria.

Sen. Graham effectively dismantled Sen. Durbin’s statements that al-Qa’ida “is a shadow of its former self” with a blistering recitation of indisputable facts. What part of building new training camps in western Iraq and carrying out 140 terrorist attacks a week sounds like “al-Qa’ida is a shadow of its former self”?

It isn’t a secret that Sen. Graham isn’t my picture of a conservative. That said, he’s done a great job of laying out the facts about al-Qa’ida’s resurgence since President Obama discontinued the Bush Doctrine. Thanks to that foolish decision, al-Qa’ida is building new bases throughout north Africa, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.

If that’s Sen. Durbin’s picture of “responsibly ending the war in Iraq”, then he’s a too irresponsible to trust foreign policy and national security to.

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In 1979, Islamic extremists raided the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. In 1983, U.S. Marines were ordered out of Beirut after a massive attack killed 241 Marines. In 1993, the Clinton administration ordered U.S. troops out of Somalia after al-Qa’ida terrorists shot down a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter in Mogadishu.

UBL summarized the lesson al-Qa’ida learned from those experiences during an interview with ABC News’ John Miller:

Miller: You have said, “If the Americans are so brave they will come and arrest me.” Do you think that is something my country will try?

Bin Ladin: We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier. He is ready to wage cold wars but unprepared to fight hot wars. This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions, showing they can run in less than twenty-four hours. This was then repeated in Somalia.

It’s easy to understand why UBL reached that conclusion. His mistake isn’t that Americans haven’t fled hotspots. It isn’t just that Americans have looked impotent. It’s that American presidents have contributed to U.S. soldiers looking impotent by having them flee after terrorist attacks.

The lesson that President Bush learned from these lessons is that terrorists are terrified when U.S. soldiers don’t hide from adversity. Terrorists are most worried when U.S. soldiers run towards hotspots. Unfortunately, President Obama didn’t learn that lesson. He ‘learned’ that it’s best to be timid, to talk in civil tones to barbarians. That’s what he did here:

The president said the disputed election would not change his belief in greater diplomatic efforts with Iran.

“I have always felt that, as odious as I feel some of President Ahmadinejad ‘s statements (are), as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on core issues, the use of tough hard headed diplomacy, diplomacy without illusions, is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of national security interests,” the president said. “We will continue to pursue a tough direct dialogue between our two countries.”

That’s what ABC’s Kristina Wong wrote on June 15, 2009 during the Green Revolution. What the Iranian mullahs heard was that President Obama was giving them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. They essentially heard President Obama say he was ambivalent to the protests.

A short 39 months later, North Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia have erupted in anti-American violence. The people serving in the U.S. embassy in Pakistan are only safe because the embassy compound is surrounded with a wall of tear gas. The consulate and annex, aka the safehouse, in Benghazi, Libya are decimated, the ruins the product of a well-planned, coordinated terrorist attack.

This is a great political opportunity for Mitt Romney because it’s a great opportunity for him to explain his vision and strategy for the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. Simply saying that a Romney administration would a) have an open door relationship with Israel, b) use covert assets to prevent terrorist attacks and c) condition foreign aid on nations’ willingness to partner with the U.S. in preventing the security nightmares currently erupting around the Mediterranean.

That would dramatically differentiate Mitt’s foreign policy from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.

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During his speech at the Democrats’ convention, Vice President Biden asked whether Osama bin Laden was better off now than he was 4 years ago. Since he set that benchmark, it’s only fair to use that criteria across North Africa and the Middle East. Charles Krauthammer’s column provides proof that life’s pretty good for some disgusting people:

Iran repeatedly defies U.S. demands on nuclear enrichment, then, as a measure of its contempt for what America thinks, openly admits that its Revolutionary Guards are deployed in Syria. Russia, after arming Assad, warns America to stay out, while the secretary of state delivers vapid lectures about Assad “meeting” his international “obligations.” The Gulf states beg America to act on Iran; Obama strains mightily to restrain…Israel. Sovereign U.S. territory is breached and U.S. interests are burned.

Life couldn’t get much better for state sponsors of terrorism and traditional American enemies. They know that they’re on easy street. They know President Obama’s foreign policy of appeasement is good for bad guy business.

In a very real sense, Iran, Russia and Syria are much better off today than they were 4 years ago. In fact, it won’t take long before Iran’s mullahs will be insufferable and unstoppable. Just a little more enrichment and they’ll have a nuclear weapon. By any sane administration’s measure, that means Iran is the biggest winner in President Obama’s high-stakes gamble.

Meanwhile, trusted allies like Israel and Poland were thrown under the bus. President Obama sent the final unmistakable message to Israel when he accepted a meeting with Egyptian President Morsi while refusing to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu or Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

President Obama’s message to the Israelis was simple: Drop dead. We don’t care.

Another unmistakable message this administration sent was during the protests of the rigged Iranian elections of 2009. This administration’s message to the protesters was equally clear: Drop dead. We’re siding with the mullahs, not with Iran’s freedom-loving people.

Things are badly wrong when the people that should fear the US are smiling and the people that trust the US are worried and fidgeting. That’s where we’re at right now.

To adapt a phrase from a legendary story, there’s no joy in Worldville tonight. The One just made the world a nastier neighborhood.

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