May 20, 2015
I found this disturbing:
The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.
But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.
These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.
March 25, 2015
'Heretic' a new book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, makes a philosophical case for the reforms needed to make Islam a modern faith, compatible with the rest of the modern world. Writing in the WSJ she listed five critical reforms:
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran. (...) The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
A story in The West Australian quotes AHA from her book:
"It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been 'hijacked' by extremists," she said.
I heard a statement in a news report yesterday that sounded possibly like this, and went searching for it today. It was made by the current President of the Islamic Republic... of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
President Ghani stressed, “We have the capacity to speak truth to terror. Terrorists do not speak for Islam -- we do. And it's the genuine Islam that is interested in dialogue between civilizations and cooperation and endeavor forward.”
Perhaps not a direct call for "reform" of Islam, but dialog and cooperation, and trade mentioned elsewhere, are some of the end results of such reform.
His true intentions are further revealed in his remarks on an incident in front of a Mosque in Kabul last week:
No individual is allowed to make oneself a judge and use violence to punish others in degrading manners. Launching personal trials and choosing who to punish stands in clear contradiction to Sharia and Islamic justice.
January 27, 2015
Israel shows US an ambassador
Ron Dermer gives an impressive speech in Florida, cited here and noting:
“The Prime Minister’s visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,” he continued. “Israel deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas – the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and iron dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.”
perfect opening moves.... then to answer the WHY doe Bibi wish to address congress:
Th[at] is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.”
along the way, saying we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent
Hat Tip: PowerLine
An impressive stroke; wonder if the Manhattan Media noticed? Why do so many prominent Israeli's have just-across-Mayberry names? And while I'm on a postulating parade: who's the last ambassador we had that was worth a damn?
More Bebi, now.... faster, please.
August 22, 2014
Quote of the postwar era
I do not feel that my choice of title is overwrought.
The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give - and the most to lose - if the Islamic State’s march continues.
From a must read article by General John R. Allen, USMC retired. He gives the President great credit for actions taken in the theater thus far, but makes a profound plea for his annihilation of Islamic State immediately.
For its part, the White House has finally unleashed the "t-word."
"When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters. "That represents a terrorist attack against our country, against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers."
August 21, 2014
A Facebook friend compared the Islamic State movement [ISIS] to Nazism in 20th century Germany. Given the wholesale mass murder that both ideologies engaged in, I think the comparison is a good one, and completely leaps over Godwin's Law. I replied with the following comment:
The analogy between "ISIS" (Islamic Statists) and NAZI Germany is apropos, but I think there is a more timely analogy for IS - namely, the Ebola virus. Islamism is an ideological virus comparable to the biological virus. Both viruses kill or make carriers of the majority of people which they contact. Both are merciless, and have no goal but their own propagation. Both pose a threat of spreading to every nation on Earth. They are impervious to reason or "negotiation." - So why does Ebola warrant emergency efforts by our NIH and deployment of our latest experimental "weapon" the ZMAPP drug, while the rapidly spreading Islamic Statist movement is met only with "limited airstrikes?"
September 6, 2013
Quote of the Day
"The genius of you Americans," the Arab-nationalist and one-time president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once explained, "is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing." -- via Jonah Goldberg
August 30, 2013
Restoring America's Standing in the World
We can thank President Obama for showing the peoples of other nations that Americans are "sophisticated" and not mere reckless "cowboys."
August 20, 2013
Friends like U.S.
As the pro-western Egyptian military declares, through its actions, that it is with George W. Bush and not the terrorists, America's government treats them like pariahs. If I didn't know better I'd think our President was with the terrorists. But there is scant evidence to the contrary. IBD editorial:
In 2009, his grandiose speech in Cairo apologized for America's historical role in the Middle East and snubbed Mubarak, setting the stage for the Egyptian president's overthrow by the mob.
President Obama's foreign policy is reminiscent of his domestic economic policy, where he uses the power of government to punish winners and reward losers. With friends like him, Egypt (and American business) don't need enemies.
August 16, 2013
Quote of the Day
ADDENDUM: Egypt's pro-Morsi protesters announce today will be a 'Day of Rage' . . . raising the question of just what the heck we call Wednesday. -- Jim Geraghty
July 3, 2013
Otequay of the Ayday
"Do as I say, not as I do" edition-
"MS. PSAKI: Well, he was reiterating what the President has said publicly and what was also in the readout, which is that this is -- democracy is about more than just elections. It's about ensuring that people can have their voices heard -- peacefully, of course, is always the goal. And he -- and you saw that the President urged President Morsy to take steps to show that he is responsive to their concerns, and the Secretary agrees that that is an important step for the government to take."
From the State Department Daily Press Briefing today.
May 9, 2013
Otequay of the Ayday
The common denominator of most of these examples is that they are failures of diplomacy, which is precisely what this administration had promised to be better at.
October 30, 2012
Benghazigate Boiling Over
A Washington Times column by James S. Robbins, dated October 28 (Sunday) shortly after midnight EDT, describes the October 18 announcement by SECDEF Panetta: "Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command."
After remarking on the unusual timing of the leadership change, the column then reports an October 26 blog post by someone who cites an anonymous "inside the military [source] that I trust entirely."
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.
Later the same day, October 28, a pentagon spokesman wrote Mr. Robbins and said, "The insinuations in your story are flat wrong."
Monday, October 29, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, released a statement:
"The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command (AFRICOM) due to events in Benghazi, Libya on 11 September 2012 is absolutely false. General Ham's departure is part of routine succession planning that has been on going since July. He continues to serve in AFRICOM with my complete confidence."
And yet, at 3:30 pm EDT that same day James Robbins reported General at center of Benghazi-gate controversy retiring
The questions concerning General Ham's role in the September 11 events continue to percolate. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said that General Ham told him during a visit to Libya that he had never been asked to provide military support for the Americans under attack in Benghazi. Former United States Ambassador to the U.N. John R, Bolton also mentioned Mr. Chaffetz's account, and contrasted it with Mr. Panetta's statement that General Ham had been part of the team that made the decision not to send in forces. "General Ham has now been characterized in two obviously conflicting ways," Mr. Bolton concluded. "Somebody ought to find out what he actually was saying on September the eleventh."
More here in a 5-hour old Hot-Air post:
A blistering critique of the administration by retired Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet that ends, "for our leadership to have deliberately ignored the pleas for assistance is not only incomprehensible, it is un-American."
And the following conclusion about General Carter Ham's "retirement."
James Robbins notes that the White House insisted that Ham took part in the decision not to supply assistance to the consulate, but Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz that no one had asked him about it. Ham’s retirement could mean that the Pentagon had some sort of disciplinary action pending against him over the incident (also the subject of much speculation, but little in the way of direct sourcing), or it could have a different meaning altogether. It would be inappropriate for Ham to criticize his Commander in Chief while still in uniform, although he could go to Congress to report any perceived malfeasance at any time.
October 29, 2012
The Washington DC CBS affiliate reported today this statement by Senator John McCain on Face the Nation yesterday:
"Nobody died in Watergate. But this [handling of Ambassador Stevens' murder by terrorists] is either a massive cover-up or incompetence that is not acceptable service to the American people," McCain told "Face the Nation." "The American people may take that into consideration a week from Tuesday."
In Why did Obama choose to “stand down” in Benghazi? a Powerline blogger expounds on the General Petraeus revelation that "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need" as was posted here in a comment on Friday.
Voters, then, must assess the administration’s handling of Benghazi with limited information. But we do know this: (1) the administration erred grievously by leaving open our mission in Benghazi while turning down requests for more security, (2) the administration made the wrong decision on the day of the attack by not bringing our military to bear, a decision consistent with Obama’s instincts, and (3) the administration has not been forthcoming or honest in its discussion of Benghazi after the fact.
October 4, 2012
America: Frack Yeah!
How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.
Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.
If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:
All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.
September 12, 2012
There's Still a War Going On
Mideast popular opinion, we were told by candidate Obama, is anti-American because they see us as meddlers in their local affairs. We based our troops in the land of Mecca, which was supposedly the final motivation for Osama bin Laden to found al Qaeda and target America, Americans and the World Trade Center on 9/11. President Obama promised to change all of this by bringing home the troops and extending an olive branch to Islamic states and shadow groups alike.
As long ago as 2010, when General Stanley McChrystal was recalled from the effort to "liberate" Afghanistan, the president sought to apply his strategy to the mideast conflict:
Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies.
At the same time he offers to "talk to America's enemies" he has intensified efforts to eliminate terrorist leaders, including a top al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. Killed by a U.S. missile in June, Senator Ben Nelson today suggested that Ambassador Christopher Stevens' killing yesterday in Libya may have been meant as revenge.
Did the president really believe he could conduct covert operations throughout the middle east without incurring the same kind of backlash his mentor Jeremiah Wright claimed to be the cause of 9/11? Whether it is better to fight terrorists or talk to them is less at issue with this administration than the schizophrenia that leads them to attempt both at the same time.
Playing Israel's cards
As The Refugee watched Egyptian protesters burn the American flag on 9/11, he muttered, "Sooner or later, we're gonna have it out with these guys." And that was before our ambassador to Libya was killed.
Then, this morning's WSJ carried a front page article concerning a rift between President Obama and Our Bibi. It got The Refugee to thinking. How should Israel proceed in the face of existential Iranian nukes? If Israel attacks before the election and Obama does not support them, he loses in a landslide. If he does support them, he wins in a landslide. On the other hand, if Obama wins and Israel attacks after the election, there's a strong possibility that the preznit hangs them out to dry. Netanyahu is no idiot and neither is Obama. (Well, Obama may be an economic idiot, but you know what The Refugee means.) Of course, Romney could win, but can Israel take that chance in a very tight election? The Refugee expects an attack within two weeks after the upcoming UN goat rodeo.
June 19, 2012
Tweet of the Day
And we have a winner. . .
May 22, 2011
Remember the Sudetenland
President Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference this morning, days after giving away Israel's most valuable bargaining chip in a negotiation that Israel's "peace partner" has no interest in negotiating over. As is usually the case, his error lies in his premise.
Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties. (Applause.) And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. (Applause.) No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. (Applause.) And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements. (Applause.)
I suppose this has never been tried before. Nobody ever thought to "demand" that Israel's enemies not attack her. It does seem so simple doesn't it? Perhaps a written agreement not to invade, signed by the recognized leader of the portending aggressor would be of more value if it included such a "demand." What a different world it might be if only Neville Chamberlain had thought of this.
Instead, Chamberlain presided over an agreement that handed over the The Sudetenland to the Germans. "The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans" and "was of immense strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defenses were situated there, and many of its banks were located there as well."
May 19, 2011
He Said, He Said
But he urged Muslims to seize the moment. “A delay may cause the opportunity to be lost, and carrying it out before the right time will increase the number of casualties,” he said. “I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, with permission from Allah.”
The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now. I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.
March 31, 2011
A Liberal Who Gets It?
Mike Littwin, a liberal columnist at the Denver Post, is normally a reliable mouthpiece for Democrat talking points. But, in an apparent effort to prove the broken clock theory, Littwin expresses one of the most realistic views regarding Libya in today's edition.
If this is a humanitarian mission, we can't leave until Khadafy is gone. That much is obvious. Pull out the missiles and the bombs, and if Khadafy's still there, he can do whatever he likes to whomever he pleases.
No matter what Obama says, this is necessarily a regime change effort. The Refugee recommends that you read the whole thing. Mark the event on your calendar.
Bachmann on Libya: Hell no I wouldn't go
In the continuing dialog over the judgement and temperment of 2012 candidate Bachmann the congresswoman has given me another reason to sing her praises. Michele Bachmann appeared on the Today Show with Matt Lauer Wednesday. The full transcript and video are here on Newsbusters, including a few times when she seemed to be the experienced interviewer and he the neophyte candidate. But the bottom line was this:
"And we also have not identified it an American vital international interest. That must be done before the United States can intervene in another nation's affairs."
Principled strength. Our armed forces are not at the world's beck and call but she's also not calling for a Libertarian's Fortress America. By implication she would be willing to intervene in another nation if there were a vital American interest.
I'd excerpt more for the entertainment value but I don't want to dilute the message: This woman makes decisions based on objective principles, not emotion and feelings. Or for the cynics among you, she's at the very least trying to make it look that way, which is more than you can say about the President of the United States.
March 29, 2011
Here's the situation with our involvement with Libya:
No clear mission
Thus, we have an indefinite engagement. Sure glad we got rid of the Cowboy Bush.
March 28, 2011
Could it Work?
This morning, via email:
Solution to the problem in Libya:
March 24, 2011
Could someone please enlighten The Refugee?
The Refugee has become confused lately and is in need of enlightenment. Liberal talking heads have justified the current military action in Libya as "sanctioned by the international community." Just who the hell is the "international community?" When GWB entered the second Gulf war with three UN resolutions behind him and the support of the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Poland, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and others, he was a "cowboy" acting alone and without support of the "international community." Now that Obama is bombing Libya after a single UN resolution and in concert with a half-dozen nations, he is doing so with the support of the "international community."
As near as The Refugee can tell, the "international community" is "other liberals who think like we do." Perhaps that's what they meant when they said Obama was a "community organizer." Please help.
March 23, 2011
Revenge for Vietnam?
Under the original headline Obama Has 'No Doubt' US Can Transfer Command to Coalition
The allies are considering a proposal, backed by France, to create a political steering committee that would oversee military operations using NATO's command structure. It would consist of the 12 nations that have committed to participating, according to a Western diplomat familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the 1960's France succeeded in handing off its war in the French colony of Vietnam to the United States. This may be America's revenge with a similar shameful abrogation.