Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category
The first thing I need to say before getting into this post’s substance is that George Will is one of the brightest conservatives I’ve ever listened to. That’s why it was difficult for me to watch this video:
Here’s the transcript from the important part of Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: George, where do you think Cruz fits in the Republican presidential field? And what do you think are his realistic chances to win the nomination?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: We’ve seen this movie before, Chris. In 1964, Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, partly on the theory called conservatives in the woodwork, that there were enormous number of conserves who only offered candidate who ignored what Cruz calls the mushy middle, they’d come out of the woodwork and form a national majority. Well, Goldwater’s 27 million voters, of whom I was one, suffice to carry six states.
The question for Mr. Cruz and for anyone seeking the Republican nomination is this, given that 18 states and the District of Columbia with 242 electoral votes voted Democratic in six consecutive elections and if the Democratic nominee holds that base, he or she will spend the fall looking for 28 electoral votes and will find them. Given that, they have to ask the question, what red, what blue state are you going to flip specifically? Can Ted Cruz campaign effectively in one of those 18 states? Pennsylvania, how is he going to do piling up big majorities to carry the state in the suburban counties, Bucks, Montgomery, around Philadelphia? I’m skeptical.
First, let’s stipulate that every Republican faces the same obstacle as Sen. Cruz. Next, let’s stipulate that some are better equipped to flipping some of the states that Will is referring to. Third, let’s stipulate that Will has said the same thing about every other Republican potential presidential candidate with one exception. That exception is Chris Christie.
Will’s defeatist attitude, which I’m certain he’ll characterize as simply a statement of fact, isn’t worthy of a man of his intelligence. According to this map, Will is right that Republicans start at a distinct disadvantage:
That’s the extent, though, that I’m willing to concede. There are 538 electoral votes, which is why the winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. Starting with 242 electoral votes means that 296 electoral votes are still up for grabs or solidly in GOP-controlled states.
First, let’s look at solidly red states. The GOP candidate starts with a base of 200 electoral votes. Next, let’s look at purple states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada. Florida has 29 EVs, followed by Ohio with 18 EVs, Virginia with 13 EVs, Colorado with 9, Nevada and Iowa with 6 apiece, New Mexico with 5 and New Hampshire with 4 EVs.
If Sen. Rubio is on the ticket, either as the nominee or running mate, that definitely flips Florida’s 29 EVs and likely puts Nevada and Colorado in the GOP column. Just putting those states in the GOP column gives the GOP ticket 244 EVs. If Scott Walker is the GOP nominee and Rubio is his running mate, that likely puts Iowa and Wisconsin in the GOP column. That puts the GOP ticket at 260 EVs. That means Hillary has to win Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.
At that point, if Republicans win either Virginia or Ohio, they’d retake the White House.
Is it mathematically challenging? Yes, for both parties.
That’s before factoring in the quality of campaigns the two sides run and events that are beyond the candidates’ control. If Republicans run a youthful, energetic, ideas-driven ticket, they won’t have to say a thing about Hillary looking fatigued. It’ll be that obvious. Further, if the Middle East continues being a disaster and Russia continues its expansionist ways, Hillary will have lots of problems because she’s joined at the hip with President Obama as the co-architects of that foreign policy.
If Mr. Will wants to continuously be a pessimist about the GOP ticket for 2016, that’s his right under the First Amendment that he writes so eloquently about. It just doesn’t mean he’s right. He should know that campaigns and events matter. Right now, Hillary is a terrible candidate and events both domestically and especially internationally favor Republicans.
Technorati: George Will, First Amendment, Conservatism, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Electoral College, Foreign Policy, Republicans, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Reset Switch, Russia, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Democrats, Election 2016
When US. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian officials, the question will be whether the Obama administration will side with Tehran or whether they’ll side with traditional U.S. allies like Egypt and Jordan.
Egypt’s president called for increased U.S. military aid and creation of a regional coalition to fight Islamic State in an interview with Fox News that aired on Monday, just days before the United States sends its top diplomat to the country.
“It is very important for the United States to understand that our need for the weapons and for the equipment is dire, especially at the time when the Egyptians feel they are fighting terrorism and they would like to feel the United States is standing by them in that fight against terrorism,” said President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
The Obama administration has shown its hand. They haven’t sent military supplies to Jordan, Egypt or the Iraqi Kurds. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll arm Egypt or Jordan because the administration doesn’t want to do anything to upset the mullahs. Strengthening the Arabs’ hands is a nonstarter with Iran’s mullahs.
In that sense, President Obama and John Kerry are setting US-Arab relations at least a decade. They’ve already set back the US-Israeli relationship a decade.
As the region grapples with the rise of Islamic State, which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, political leaders of the five Gulf Arab states, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey have been meeting to forge unity and work together.
“The region is facing very tough circumstances now,” Sissi said through a translator. “The public opinion wants to see a big response from capable countries – countries that are able to provide assistance to it.”
el-Sissi has shown himself to be an incredible statesman. He’s reached out to Coptic Christians at great risk to his life. He’s willing to work with the Israelis — on a limited basis — to stop Iran’s agenda.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan wants to accelerate Jordan’s war with ISIS, mostly because of ISIS’ torching the Jordanian pilot in a cage. Whatever their motivation, this is the type of coalition that US diplomats should welcome. According to el-Sissi, this administration has dragged its feet. Though that’s disappointing, it’s totally predictable.
I just wish our commander-in-chief was the heroic statesmen that el-Sissi and Abdullah are.
The latest polling measuring President Obama’s national security leadership isn’t the much-needed good news that this administration needs:
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Congressional leaders invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress?
Good thing 56%, bad thing 27%
Do you think the Obama administration is too supportive of Israel, not supportive enough, or are the administration’s policies about right?
Too supportive 14%, not supportive enough 41%, about right 35%
Democrats that complained about Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu are on the wrong side of that fight by a 2:1 margin. That isn’t the bad news from the poll, though. This is definitely worse news for President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats:
Do you think the United States has been too aggressive, not aggressive enough or about right in trying to get Iran to stop building a nuclear weapons program?
Too aggressive 7%, not aggressive enough 57%, about right 27%
Do you favor or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran if that were the only way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?
Favor 65%, Oppose 28%
When 3 in 5 voters think you aren’t pushing Iran hard enough to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, you’re in a bad position. When 1 in 4 voters thinks you’re being about right, then most voters think you’re a wimp. When two-thirds of people think we should use military force to prevent “Iran from getting nuclear weapons” and you’re an anti-war president, you’re in trouble.
President Obama’s leadership on national security matters, if it can be called that, is pathetic. And yes, President Obama is anti-war. He’s lost 2 wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) thus far. He’s on the path to losing another war to ISIS. His coalition of 60 nations that are fighting ISIS is fiction. His policies towards Russia are helping Putin rebuild the former Soviet empire.
Other than those things, President Obama is a picture in foreign policy leadership.
According to this article, President Obama has turned the US Air Force into a pro-Iranian Air Force:
According to the report, Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff Beni Gants to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.
The sources added that Gants and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.
However, an Israeli minister “who has good ties with the US administration revealed Netanyahu’s plans to Secretary of State John Kerry” and as a result Obama then threatened to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.
It’s simply stunning that President Obama would threaten to shoot down Israeli jets if they tried destroying Iran’s uranium enrichment plants. Has President Obama gone totally insane? The thought that President Obama would shoot down Israel’s jets to protect Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities is like hearing President Obama lifting protection from Poland to tell Putin he was a trusted ally.
President Obama’s foreign policy has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it. It’s like we’re being told that the sun sets in the east and rises in the west. Nothing about President Obama’s foreign policy makes sense.
Netanyahu had to abort the operation and since then relations between Israel and the United States have been declining, according to the sources quoted in the report.
President Obama is the most anti-Israel president in US history. Whoever’s in second isn’t close. The thought that a US president is willing to protect the biggest state sponsor of terrorism while shooting down our best ally in the region’s planes indicates President Obama’s priorities aren’t America’s priorities.
President Obama is an historic president … for all the wrong reasons.
Last night, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), went ‘on the record’ with Fox’s Greta van Susteren:
One of the first things that Gov. Walker touted was the positive impact Act 10 has had on education:
GOV. WALKER: People claimed that public education would fall apart. Instead, by getting rid of seniority and tenure, we empowered school districts to put their best and their brightest in the classrooms by hiring based on merit and pay … Today, our schools are better. Our graduation rates are up. Our third-grade reading scores are up. Our ACT scores are the second best in the nation.
Thus far, we’ve watched DC pundits and British blowhards ask trivial questions of Gov. Walker about such non-pressing importance like whether he believes in evolution or whether he thinks President Obama is a Christian.
When Gov. Walker didn’t play their gotcha games, the media acted like they’d been scandalized. What’d happened was that Gov. Walker essentially told them, politely, was that he wanted to talk about important things, not the gotcha stuff they wanted to talk about. Thank God for that.
Other than the DC blowhards, nobody gives a rip about Gov. Walker’s thoughts on evolution or President Obama’s faith. What they care most about is what he’ll do to fix the messes that President Obama has created. The people understand that the next president will have to deal with a defiant Vladimir Putin, a terrorist nation that’s expanding its reach and a regulatory regime that’s crippling innovation and job creation.
GOV. WALKER: You’ll appreciate this, Greta. I was in Green Bay, WI, this afternoon. I was at 2 of the leading job creators talking about opportunities for people with disabilities and somebody in the press at the end of the event asked a question about this very subject and I said “I challenge you to go out and walk with me down the streets of Green Bay, WI, and ask 100 people on the street what they really care about. I’m certain not a one of them will talk about the issues we heard about in Washington.
That’s a perfect way to deal with the Gotcha Media. Gov. Walker didn’t respond this aggressively initially but he’s catching on quick. The thing he already understands that Jeb Bush never will is that the press will back down a bit (not a lot but a little) if they’re worried about some timely sharp elbows to keep them on the straight-and-narrow.
Think of it like a Bob Gibson fastball past your head or into your ribs if you showboated after hitting a home run off of him.
The thing that Gov. Walker now understands is that the Gotcha Media that cover the campaigns need him more than he needs any one of them. It isn’t that he needs to constantly pick fights with the reporters covering his campaign. It’s that he needs to remind them that he’ll give preferential treatment to people who don’t ask gotcha questions. If reporters ask tough, policy-oriented questions, he should answer respectfully.
It won’t take long for the reporters to figure out, and adapt to, the ground rules.
Brian Beutler’s article is a testimony to how warped hardline progressives’ thinking is. Check this out:
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works.
As a theme, this riff should have struck a chord with the conservative movement’s myriad Reaganologists.
This, supposedly, is Beutler’s attempt to prove that Barack Obama is the next Reagan. Let’s check that comparison. The ‘Obama Recovery’ is still the slowest recovery in history. It’s created few full-time jobs. Most of the jobs it’s created are part-time jobs. Economic growth has stagnated because a) regulation has skyrocketed and b) Obamacare became the law of the land.
Most of the full-time jobs that’ve been created were created in spite of Obama’s policies. Think Texas, which is pretty much putting anti-Obama policies in place, and North Dakota, where the Bakken Boom is happening because they didn’t have to deal with Obama’s oppressive, stifling regulations.
Any comparison with Reagan is foolish. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. For 6 straight quarters, GDP topped 5%. Thus far, the economy hasn’t grown by 4% two quarters in a row. It hasn’t had back-to-back quarters topping 3.5%.
Comparing Obamanomics with Reaganomics is like comparing a small plate of tofu with a thick, juicy steak with a side of hash browns. They’re both food but that’s where the similarity ends.
The economy’s rapid growth in recent quarters has scrambled these assumptions, and now the White House is pitching the Reagan comparison to political reporters in Washington.
What rapid growth? Seriously? Economists will slap down Beutler’s claims in a New York minute.
“All historical analogies are imperfect,” Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told me recently, but “people connected the economic success of the ’80s to Reagan’s policies and Democrats also became convinced that the only way to win was to move to the middle. … We want to make sure people understand the policies we put in place, how they work, how they’ve improved their situation, so when Republicans get back into it we’ll have shifted the four corners of the political debate to the left.”
First, there’s no question that President Obama’s policies are definitely to the left of where people are at. Further, there’s no question that it’ll take time to fix the myriad of messes President Obama has created.
Finally, here are the biggest ways to show Obama isn’t like Reagan:
- Economic growth was robust during the last 6 years of Reagan’s time in office.
- Economic growth during President Obama’s time in office has been pathetic.
- Reagan’s national security policies brought the Soviet empire to its knees.
- President Obama’s policies of appeasement has helped terrorism expand its control while threatening most of the civilized world.
Other than that, Obama’s accomplishments are virtually identical with Reagan’s.
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.
This week, we’ve been subjected to some of the most idiotic thinking about the expanding ISIS threat against civilization. While middle east nation after middle east nation is visited with treachery, President Obama and Vice President Biden hosted a conference on “violent extremism.” Here’s something President Obama said Thursday that’s gotten my attention:
First, we must remain unwavering in our fight against terrorist organizations. And in Afghanistan, our coalition is focused on training and assisting Afghan forces, and we’ll continue to conduct counterterrorism missions against the remnants of al Qaeda in the tribal regions. When necessary, the United States will continue to take action against al Qaeda affiliates in places like Yemen and Somalia. We will continue to work with partners to help them build up their security forces so that they can prevent ungoverned spaces where terrorists find safe haven, and so they can push back against groups like al-Shabaab and Boko Haram.
President Obama’s words sound reassuring. Unfortunately, like his State of the Union Address, his words don’t reflect reality. Saying that “the United States will continue to take action against al Qaeda affiliates in places like Yemen” is total BS. The US embassy in Sana’a was hastily evacuated. Top secret or classified documents were left behind.
This is foolishness:
The Syrian civil war will only end when there is an inclusive political transition and a government that serves Syrians of all ethnicities and religions. And across the region, the terror campaigns between Sunnis and Shia will only end when major powers address their differences through dialogue, and not through proxy wars. So countering violent extremism begins with political, civic and religious leaders rejecting sectarian strife.
When a house is burning, the first step is to call 9-1-1, not hold a discussion on the flammability of various building materials. In a crisis, putting out the fire first is more important than rewriting building codes so houses are less likely to catch fire.
Whether President Obama is using this summit as a way to not take the fight to ISIL or whether he’s just acting like a professor because that’s his nature, it’s irrelevant. He’d be much better off applying President Reagan’s strategy towards the Soviets. When asked what his strategy was towards the Soviets, President Reagan said
let’s offer them a reset switch “Simple. We win, they lose.”
Since launching airstrikes against ISIS, the US has averaged 7 strike sorties a day against ISIL. That’s proof that Obama is fiddling while ISIS continues its expansion.
Last week, Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, said that “as a nation, we are stronger than we’ve been in a very long time.” Egyptian Coptic Christians couldn’t comment on Ms. Rice’s statement because they’d been slaughtered by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya. This article indicates that ISIS, aka ISIL, is rapidly expanding:
Since exploding onto the world stage as a conquering force in Iraq a year ago, the Islamic State has expanded its reach across the Middle East despite a U.S.-led bombing campaign that has killed thousands of militants and destroyed tons of their equipment.
It’s insulting to hear people calling the air operations in Iraq a bombing campaign. The air war that Chuck Horner conducted in Operation Desert Storm was a full-fledged air war. According to Mark Gunzinger’s and John Stillion’s WSJ article, sorties flown per day against ISIS targets is pathetic. Here’s a comparison of various air wars:
For instance, during the 43-day Desert Storm air campaign against Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1991, coalition fighters and bombers flew 48,224 strike sorties. This translates to roughly 1,100 sorties a day. Twelve years later, the 31-day air campaign that helped free Iraq from Saddam’s government averaged more than 800 offensive sorties a day.
By contrast, over the past two months U.S. aircraft and a small number of partner forces have conducted 412 total strikes in Iraq and Syria—an average of seven strikes a day. With Islamic State in control of an area approaching 50,000 square miles, it is easy to see why this level of effort has not had much impact on its operations.
That’s the difference between warfare whose objective is to annihilate the enemy and photo-op pin prick airstrikes designed to provide President Obama political cover. It’s impossible to deny that President Obama is the anti-war president. Thanks to President Obama’s reticence to wage serious war against a dangerous terrorist nation, ISIS is growing:
The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.
That isn’t all. Here’s more proof of ISIL’s growth:
Mr Zeidan, who fled to Europe after losing a parliamentary vote of confidence, reported that Isis had a growing presence in some of the bigger cities and was trying to recruit fighters from rival Islamist groups.
Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, also said Isis’s presence in Libya was increasing “exponentially”. Its military gains last summer sparked a rush by other Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa to ally themselves with the group by pledging allegiance and changing their names. The jihadists behind the beheadings in Libya call themselves the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State.
President Obama is a bigger national security failure than Jimmy Carter, which is something I never thought I’d say.
The thing that President Obama calls “strategic patience” was called appeasement when Jimmy Carter was president. The spin has changed but the disastrous policies remain the same.
Technorati: President Obama, Strategic Patience, Jimmy Carter, Appeasement, National Security, ISIS, ISIL, Egypt, Coptic Christians, Afghanistan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Italy, Europe, Chuck Horner, Operation Desert Storm
This article highlights the virtue of President Obama’s policy of strategic patience:
A video purporting to show the mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday by militants in Libya affiliated with the Islamic State group.
The killings raise the possibility that the Islamic militant group — which controls about a third of Syria and Iraq in a self-declared caliphate — has established a direct affiliate less than 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the southern tip of Italy. One of the militants in the video makes direct reference to that possibility, saying the group now plans to “conquer Rome.”
The militants had been holding 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians hostage for weeks, all laborers rounded up from the city of Sirte in December and January. It was not clear from the video whether all 21 hostages were killed. It was one of the first such beheading videos from an Islamic State group affiliate to come from outside the group’s core territory in Syria and Iraq.
What’s amazing is what Susan Rice, President Obama’s NSA, said recently at the Brookings Institute:
“As a nation, we are stronger than we’ve been in a very long time.”
Here’s what Ms. Rice said later in that speech:
Ms. Rice said that the Obama administration had “brought home almost 170,000 American troops, responsibly ending 2 costly and long ground wars and re-purposing our military’s strength so we can better respond to emerging threats and crises.”
The Middle East and north Africa are being controlled by ISIS. Meanwhile, Americans were evacuated, hurriedly, from the US embassy in Yemen by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, aka AQAP. Coptic Christians are being ruthlessly slaughtered in Libya.
A year ago, President Obama called ISIS a JV team after ISIS had captured Fallujah. This year, ISIS controls one-third of Iraq and Syria and is branching out into Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya. Anyone with a modest understanding knows that Libya is only a few hundred miles from Rome.
Egyptian President el-Sissi is more courageous than President Obama:
The Egyptian government declared a seven-day mourning period and President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi addressed the nation late Sunday night, pledging resilience in the fight against terrorism.
“These cowardly actions will not undermine our determination” said el-Sissi, who also banned all travel to Libya by Egyptian citizens and said his government reserves the right to seek retaliation. “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”
President el-Sissi knows what ISIS is. He’s fighting them with everything he’s got. Meanwhile, President Obama preaches that doing nothing to stop the rapidly metastasizing threat from ISIS is the right strategy.
I’d rather trust el-Sissi than trust the occupant of the White House. That’s because President Obama insists that doing nothing is making America safer. Ask Bill Clinton if taking a holiday from history made America safer in the 1990s.