Archive for Barack Clausewitz Obama

To War, To War, Freedonia’s Going to War

And Sylvania’s never gonna know what hit it:

I try to let a few years pass between viewings of Duck Soup and the other early Marx Bros. It’s hard to appreciate their improvisatory brilliance when one remembers it too well. It pays rediscovery.

Anyhow, on to more serious matters. War with ISIS—yay or nay?

Here’s a nay:

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think the president is doing everything that he can in trying to defeat ISIS. But when I hear words like enduring conflict, it makes me very, very nervous. I think it opens a door wider than it should be. I think we’ve got to continue air strikes. I think we’ve got to use special operations forces when we can. But I do not want to see a never-ending quagmire in the Middle East where our troops die, come back with terrible illnesses and we end up spending trillions of dollars.

Once again, this war is a battle for the soul of Islam and it’s going to have to be the Muslim countries who are stepping up. These are billionaire families all over that region. They’ve got to get their hands dirty. They’ve got to get their troops on the ground. They’ve got to win that war with our support. We cannot be leading the effort…

I want to make sure that our young men and women are not fighting a never-ending war in the region, not getting killed.

Agree or disagree, you have to agree he’s clear.

Not so much here:

JIM ACOSTA, CNN: The language is fuzzy, is it not?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Intentionally so. And the intent is —

ACOSTA: Intentionally so?

EARNEST: Yes.

ACOSTA: It’s intentionally fuzzy?

EARNEST: Yes, Jim, because we believe it’s important that there aren’t overly burdensome constraints that are placed on the commander-in-chief who needs the flexibility to be able to respond to contingencies that emerge in a chaotic military conflict like this.

Remember when this administration touted a “time-limited, scope-limited military action”? Those were the days. Of course, that was in Libya, and that didn’t turn out so well.

So, maybe this is the better approach:

BILL O’REILLY: 10-year-old girls are getting raped and killed, people are getting set on fire and beheaded. You can theorize all you want. We have a disagreement. You and the president believe that it’s working–.

AXELROD: What do you think the answer is though? Let’s make you president of the United States for a second, which your viewers may want.

O’REILLY: I put forth the answer, that you have to basically get a ground force. There’s 40,000 of these people. Go in and kill them. It should be an international force, but this should have been convened months ago.

AXELROD: The question is, what then? What happens then, Bill?

O’REILLY: They’re dead, and then we bury them.

AXELROD: Are we going to stay in perpetuity?

O’REILLY: No. We kill them, and then we leave. And if we have to go back we kill them, and then we leave.

AXELROD: And your assumption is — and that’s it, there’s no more anywhere else? This doesn’t inflame the situation–.

O’REILLY: Where they are, you seek and destroy.

AXELROD: If they don’t have recruits coming in, this doesn’t inflame — does it add to our security or does it detract from our security?

O’REILLY: You really want to use the word inflame after the Jordanian guy got set on fire? Is that the word you want to use? Come on.

You know what they say: opinions are like a**holes—everyone has one. Even a**holes.

Speaking of whom:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose. Its barbaric murders of so many people, including American hostages, are desperate and revolting attempts to strike fear in the hearts of people that it can never possibly win over by its ideas or its ideology because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction.

With vile groups like this, there is only one option. With our allies and partners we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.

Two questions come to mind: if we’re going to “destroy” them, who gives a fig that we’re also going to “degrade” them? Why does he keep repeating that? Bill O’Reilly may not be president, but his rhetoric of “kill them, bury them” (which is twice as much work as I’d invest) is a lot more presidential.

Second, if ISIS “can never possibly win over by its ideas or its ideology because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction”, why do we need to fight them? By Obama’s reasoning, ISIS’ ideology will defeat its arms. If you’ll allow the analogy, Lord Voldemort, too, offered only “misery and death and destruction”, yet he was winning; he had no shortage of death-eaters at his beck and call. But for Harry Potter, his ideology would have won—twice.

ISIS is winning, but only because we—or another suitable force—are not fighting them. The Kurds are proof that if you shoot an ISIS maggot, he will die. Shoot more of them, with more guns. To complete the analogy above, instead of “the boy who lived” standing against “barbaric, desperate, revolting” terrorists, we have “the boy who smoked a lid”.

He was elected president in 2008 largely on a no-war platform. How fitting he has become an “endless wartime” president. An absence of strategy will do that.

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Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Amman is the man!

Jordan has deployed “thousands” of ground troops to the Iraqi border, a source close to the Jordanian government told ABC News today, in its latest move to counter the advance of the Islamic State group.

The Jordanian source says the troops will likely stay on their side of the border in a defensive posture, for now, and will not enter Iraq without approval from the Iraqi government.

However, on the other side of the border, the head of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, retired Marine Gen. John Allen told Jordan’s official Petra news agency, “there will be a major counteroffensive on the ground in Iraq” shortly.

First things first:

The White House was ready to share with lawmakers Tuesday its plan to seek authority for the use of military force against the Islamic State group, setting up the first war vote in Congress in 13 years.

Just like Bush!

To paraphrase the German reporter from yesterday:

“President, you said you have not yet made a decision as to whether weapons ought to be delivered to [Jordan]; what would be your red line? What would be the red line that needs to be crossed for you to decide a — an armament of the [Jordanian] army? And what do you think will this hold by way of a promise, because the chancellor said it will make matters worse? What can the Nobel Laureate Obama do more to defuse the situation?”

The Nobel Laureate Obama still hasn’t decided to promote ISIS to varsity.

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Where Have I Heard This Before?

This:

“We have no interest in seeing Russia weakened or its economy in shambles. We have a profound interest, as I believe every country does, in promoting a core principle, which is: Large countries don’t bully smaller countries,” Obama told reporters.

Really? Because the opposite appears to be true.

It sounds an awful lot like this:

“It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century,” Kerry said. “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.”

That was almost a year ago. What’s changed? I love the sanctions, and the oil price plummet has squeezed Putin by his rubles, but if our leaders really believe their striped-pant rhetoric, dasvidaniya Ukraine.

His visit comes a day after city officials in Mariupol, Ukraine, said shelling in southeastern Ukraine killed at least 30 people, including two children.

Another 102 people were injured, at least 75 of whom needed hospital treatment, and many suffered shrapnel injuries, Mariupol City Council said.

Pro-Russian separatists are blamed for the attack on residential areas in the port city, Donetsk regional police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin said on his Facebook page.

PS: And don’t think Iran hasn’t taken notice.

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ISIS Update

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear—when Obama said he was going to kick ISIS’s ass.

Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President emphasized that the terrorist group is neither Islamic nor a state.

“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” President Obama said. “And ISIL is certainly not a state. … It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

Isn’t one of the most important rules of warfare to know your enemy? He sounds ignorant, willfully so, and even gets the name wrong. Oh well, maybe he makes up for it later.

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

So how’s that working out for you (us? them?)?

Exclusive: ISIS Gaining Ground in Syria, Despite U.S. Strikes

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain—and putting more and more people under its black banners.

ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.

And then, in a classic example of military-sepak:

“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast.

That’s a neat trick. How do you stop momentum as they gain ground?

ISIS’s gain is a loss for gays, Christians, women, children, pigeon-breeders, and anyone else I might have left out.

During a Jan. 6 press briefing, for example, when a reporter asked “where ISIS’s relative strength is right now,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby replied by talking exclusively about the U.S. effort in Iraq, naming cities were the military believed ISIS’s momentum has been “halted.”

When the reporter pressed for an answer on what was happening in Syria, Kirby struggled, saying, “I couldn’t give you a—a specific point at which, you know, we believe, well geez, we’ve halted their momentum. It—it’s come slowly, in various stages. But I think it’s safe to say that over the last three to four weeks, we—we’ve been confident that that momentum has largely been blunted.”

On Friday, Kirby proclaimed that ISIS had lost 700 square kilometers since the campaign began—over half the size of New York City or about four times the size of the District of Columbia. But the Pentagon spokesman could not say what percentage that area marked of total ISIS-controlled land. Nor could he say if that loss was in Iraq, Syria, or combined in both nations. As Kirby asserted: “I’m frankly not sure how relevant that is.”

But Obama said:

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Sorry, Syrians, but if you thought you could keep your country if you liked it, you’re as big a bunch of saps as we are.

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Fine, Take Crimea—I Hope You Choke On It

Much as it pains me to write this, I wonder if Obama got this one right?

It’s official: Russia is heading into recession. And for the first time, the country admits it.

The Russian government said the economy will contract by 0.8% in 2015. The country revised its 2015 budget based on a lower value for the ruble and oil trading at $80 per barrel, compared to its previous assumption that oil will be trading at $100 barrel next year.

The economic contraction could get worse, given that even these assumptions are already more optimistic than current levels. On Tuesday, Brent crude oil was trading at $71, while the value of its currency had fallen further.

The government has a more “pessimistic” scenario if oil prices trade at $60 per barrel, in which case the Russian economy would fall by 3.5-4%.

Russia’s economy is facing a downward spiral mainly because of low oil prices — half of the government’s revenue comes from oil and gas exports.

It’s pushed Russia’s income lower, increasing its budget deficit. That in turn has weakened the ruble.

A weak currency sends prices of goods higher, hurting consumers.

On top of that, the recent economic sanctions is causing huge private capital outflows — estimated to total $60-$80 billion in 2015.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer ex-KGB goon. I’m feeling such naches I’m kvelling.

So, credit to Obama, but with one catch. We should have armed the Ukrainians. Years ago, we twisted their arms to disarm, with the promise of our protection. We should have offered whatever materiel they needed now. It would have showed Russia our resolve without directly confronting them, and it would have kept a promise to a friendly government bordering a hostile one. So, smoke your victory cigar, Mr. President (we know you’re dying to), but just one. It’s not healthy, and it’s all you’ve earned.

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I Hope the War Against Ebola is Going Better Than the War Against ISIS

It couldn’t be going worse:

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.

Other moderate fighters were on the run, headed for the Turkish border as the extremists closed in, heralding a significant defeat for the rebel forces Washington had been counting on as a bulwark against the Islamic State.

A Jabhat al-Nusra base was one of the first targets hit when the United States launched its air war in Syria in September, and activists said the tensions fueled by that attack had contributed to the success of the group’s push against the moderate rebels.

“When American airstrikes targeted al-Nusra, people felt solidarity with them because Nusra are fighting the regime, and the strikes are helping the regime,” said Raed al-Fares, an activist leader in Kafr Nabel, in Idlib.

“Now people think that whoever in the Free Syrian Army gets support from the U.S.A. is an agent of the regime,” he said.

Doing to the Syrian opposition what he did to health care.

Obama does so many stupid things—I mean really numb-skulled, moronic, imbecilic things—I’m beginning to wonder if he’s as smart as they’ve been telling us. I’m thinking not.

PS: Didn’t Harry Reid declare Bush’s war in Iraq “lost”, when it was shortly after won? Where is he now (but on his way out, on his ass)?

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The Wartime President

Other than FDR going for his fourth term, I can’t think of a single president who won the office in the middle of a war. Which is to say wartime presidents are made by events, not by choice.

We joked the other day that Obama’s legendary self-confidence might stretch all the way to the military. But that’s the thing with Obama, he’s the biggest joke of all.

I’m a better general than my generals:

Top military leaders in the Pentagon and in the field are growing increasingly frustrated by the tight constraints the White House has placed on the plans to fight ISIS and train a new Syrian rebel army.

As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.

Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. Officials talk of sudden and frequent meetings of the National Security Council and the so-called Principals Committee of top defense, intelligence, and foreign policy officials (an NSC and three PCs in one week this month); a barrage of questions from the NSC to the agencies that create mountains of paperwork for overworked staffers; and NSC insistence on deciding minor issues even at the operational level.

“We are getting a lot of micromanagement from the White House. Basic decisions that should take hours are taking days sometimes,” one senior defense official told The Daily Beast.

War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.
William Tecumseh Sherman

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
George S. Patton

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
Winston Churchill

If you like your army, you can keep your army. Period.
Barack H. Ohama

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BTL’s Art of War

It’s sophisticated, but see if you can hop aboard the train of thought:

Military and White House officials said Friday that the fierce fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani has created an opportunity to take out large numbers of Islamic State fighters pouring into the battle.

Though the fighting has raised concerns that the vital town could still fall to the Islamic State, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, claimed Friday that there’s an upside for the U.S. and its allies.

“The enemy has made a decision to make Kobani his main effort,” Austin said, claiming “manpower” is streaming into the area.

“Now, my goal is to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. And if [the enemy] continues to present us with major targets … then clearly, we’ll service those targets, and we’ve done so very, very effectively here of late,” Austin said.

Maybe it’s not the first thing you think of when you list the reasons you’re proud to be an American, but our ability to vaporize people we deem (correctly or not) to be our enemies is second to none. So, when we find such people in adequate numbers, it’s time to let ‘em fly and hit ‘em high.

Where’s my diploma from The Citadel, you ask? Who died and made me general? Fine, don’t take my word for it. Just recall the many posts from past years in which US forces squared off with Taliban goatherds and the casualty results were 100-0, 150-1, and suchlike. Again, maybe not our best trait, but we can kill with the best of them; when offered the opportunity, we should seize it.

There’s only one flaw in how Obama intends to go about it. Kobani is worth saving from ISIS because there are Kurdish “boots on the ground” (or sandals, flip-flops, rags) to take the ground (sand) that ISIS forces leave when they either explode or retreat. That does not appear to be the case in, say, Baghdad.

So, by all means, kill while the killing’s good in Kobani. (As if I need to encourage Obama to kill indiscriminately from the skies—he’s got a Death Ray, and he’s not afraid to use it!) But Kobani will be small consolation when the former seat of the caliphate returns to something that calls itself the Islamic State. It did no good to slaughter Afghan Islamists by the hundreds if we didn’t intend to hold the territory (by ourselves or through proxies); it’s doubtful the results will be any better in Syria or Iraq.

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Weighing Kurds

I admit I hadn’t heard of Kobani until last week, and I’ve never known a Kurd.

But what the [bleep] are we doing?

Islamic State jihadists captured the headquarters Friday of Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian border town of Kobani, with a UN envoy warning thousands would likely be massacred if it falls to them.

Outgunned Kurdish militia were struggling to prevent the jihadists closing off the last escape route for civilians still in the area, prompting an appeal for urgent military assistance.

U.S.-led warplanes have intensified air strikes against ISIS, which has been attacking Kobani for three weeks, but the Pentagon has warned that, without a ground force to work with, there are limits to what can be done.

Neighboring Turkey has so far refrained from any action against the jihadists on its doorstep, despite four straight nights of protests among its own large Kurdish minority that have left 31 people dead.

The jihadists’ advance has brought the front line to little more than three-quarters of a mile from the border.

ISIS now controls 40 percent of Kobani, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The capture of the headquarters will allow the jihadists to advance on the border post with Turkey to the north of the town,” its director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

“If they achieve that, they will have the Kurdish forces inside Kobani completely surrounded.”

With predictable results.

We all have to understand that hundreds and thousands of people die around the world every day in the most miserable of circumstances. Like our own deaths, we cope with that knowledge by not thinking about it. But sometimes we rouse ourselves in some kind of outrage to do something. Do what? Something. Like putting on a bumper sticker about Tibet or Darfur.

We would have done just as much to save the Kurds by pasting “Save the Kurd” stickers on our F-16s as we have by blowing up sand dunes and camel stalls. It’s the most expensive theatrical bomb since Spiderman.

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OUT: Boots on the Ground, IN: Choppers in the Sand

Oh [bleep]:

The U.S. military is flying Apache helicopters against Islamic State rebels in Iraq for the first time, exposing U.S. troops to greater risk from ground fire as they help Iraqi forces battle the Islamist group that has overrun parts of the country.

U.S. troops flew helicopters against Islamic State fighters on Sunday and again on Monday as they struck at mortar teams and other units near Fallujah, said a spokesman for Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East.

“This was the first time rotary wing aircraft were used in coordination with and in support of ISF (Iraqi Security Force) operations,” Army Major Curtis Kellogg said in an email. “The Iraqi government asked for support with this capability near Fallujah to push back (Islamic State).”

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the helicopters that were used were Apache attack helicopters.

Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security think tank, said the military’s decision to use Apaches “demonstrates that they’ve only achieved limited results with the air strikes from fighters and bombers and drones.”

Christopher Harmer, a former Navy aviator who is an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War think tank, said it was a significant escalation in the level of risk being taken by U.S. troops assisting the Iraqi military.

“Fixed-wing aircraft flying at 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) are completely immune from the type of weapons that Islamic State fighters have, but a helicopter is not,” Harmer said.

“When you’re flying a helicopter 150 feet (50 meters) above the ground, that helicopter can be shot with a rocket-propelled grenade or a heavy machine gun … so, yes, it is much more dangerous,” he added.

Obama channeling his inner Jimmy Carter.

Or his inner Bill Clinton:

What will we call the movie of this disaster, Black Chickenhawk Down? Obama swore that he wouldn’t put boots on the ground against ISIS. Chopper pilots will be issued Nike sneakers before every mission.

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Losing Our Heads

We’ve got ISIS desperate and on the run!

As it has lost battleground in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State group has ramped up its propaganda campaign by beheading hostages.

U.S. officials call it a sign of weakness that shows the militants are trying to use whatever they can to maintain support and inspire recruits, even as the group suffers military setbacks in its push to create a religious empire across the two countries.

Uh, no we don’t:

Islamic State militants have taken control of key cities in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and have begun to besiege one of the country’s largest military bases in a weeklong offensive that’s brought them within artillery range of Baghdad.

The Islamic State and its tribal allies have dominated Anbar since a surprise offensive last December, but this week’s push was particularly worrisome, because for the first time this year Islamist insurgents were reported to have become a major presence in Abu Ghraib, the last Anbar town on the outskirts of the capital.

“Daash is openly operating inside Abu Ghraib,” according to an Iraqi soldier, who used a common Arabic term for the Islamic State. “I was at the 10th Division base there two days ago, and the soldiers cannot leave or patrol,” he said, asking that he be identified only as Hossam because Iraqi soldiers are barred from speaking with foreign reporters. “Daash controls the streets.”

Hundreds of miles to the west, Islamic State forces continued their push into the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, where it appeared unlikely that Turkey would intervene to stop the advance. Kurdish officials from the town said the Turkish government had yet to respond to their pleas for weapons, and reports from the Turkish-Syrian border said there was no evidence Turkey was preparing to take action.

Hossam, whom a McClatchy special correspondent interviewed in Baghdad, said he’d had a difficult time leaving Abu Ghraib for Baghdad to mark the Eid al Adha holiday Saturday. “I had to use a fake ID card that said I was Sunni,” he said, reflecting the concern among Shiite Muslim Iraqi soldiers about the Islamic State’s execution of Shiites it’s captured. “Daash controls the entire area except the army bases and prisons. They’re just a few (miles) from Baghdad.”

With weakness like that, who needs strength?

Without “boots on the ground”, we can know very little of what’s going on. The Obama regime may know more than it’s letting on, but I wouldn’t believe a word they said even if they were reading from the Bible.

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Shell Game

Those who have seen David Mamet’s brilliant movie, Wag the Dog, think they have seen the depths of cynicism and human degradation.

But they haven’t seen anything until they’ve seen the sequel: Eat the Dog (tough).

With respect to the so-called Khorasan Group, the overarching objection here is that we are really just talking about al-Qaeda. No one doubts that al-Qaeda, being an international terror network that has been at war with the United States for about 20 years, has an internal organizational structure as well as both franchises and smaller cells throughout the world. But the units, franchises, and cells are not independent, autonomous operators; they are al-Qaeda. That, in fact, is what separates them from the Islamic State, which has broken away from the mother ship, at least for the time being.

The Obama administration portrayed the abruptly emergent “Khorasan Group” as if it were a standalone terrorist organization — a jihadist-combat entity targeting the United States. In reality, the threat the administration was talking about was from al-Qaeda. The administration does not like to admit that al-Qaeda is still a formidable enemy because President Obama has made a habit of falsely claiming to have defeated it. That is why we are hearing about the “Khorasan Group.”

Khorasan may be new to us, but it’s old news to the Obama regime:

The upshot of Mr. Lake’s report is that back in June, U.S. military and intelligence officials assessed that “a shadowy network of al Qaeda veterans in Syria were planning to attack airliners flying to the United States.” The officials thus formulated combat plans for strikes against this terror cell’s key locations. These “targeting packages,” however, were not submitted to the president because, according to an unidentified senior intelligence official, military brass knew Mr. Obama would not authorize the strikes. They did not want to ask if the answer was certain to be “no.”

I have no doubt that this is the case. My focus, however, is on Mr. Lake’s description of the Khorasan controversy. As he frames it,

Some critics on the left and right have questioned whether the White House invented the threat from the so-called “Khorasan Group” in order to justify airstrikes that began in September against al Qaeda and ISIS targets in Syria.

Let me help you out: Khorasan is Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda is Khorasan—like a McDonalds is always a McDonalds, regardless of where it is or who the manager is. But ISIS is neither; it’s Wendy’s, with a side of decapitation. Obama claimed to have put the former out of business (by terminating the CEO); the latter he dismissed as the JV team. He similarly changed his mind when he accepted the very same terms covering our troops in Iraq that he rejected in 2011.

But if such counter-terrorism sleight of hand seems irrelevant to you, let me introduce you to the new definition of “theater of war”:

U.S. airstrikes in Syria in September that were aimed at a faction of al-Qaeda militants said to be plotting attacks against the West failed to deliver a decisive blow against them, U.S. officials familiar with the operation said late this week.

While U.S. intelligence agencies are still assessing the results of the Tomahawk cruise missile strikes, three U.S. officials said indications are that many suspected leaders and members of the Khorasan Group escaped, along with high-tech explosive devices they were said to be preparing to attack civil aviation or similar targets.

‘They thought people were there but they were not there,’ said one U.S. official familiar with the Obama administration’s plan.

At the time of the strikes, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said they were conducted to ‘disrupt imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western targets’.

Federal Bureau of Investigations director James Comey told reporters on September 25 that he was ‘not confident’ that the plots against the United States had been disrupted.

In the aftermath of the strikes, U.S. officials have dialed back their warnings, saying that any planned attacks by Khorasan may not have been imminent.

The U.S. government still maintains that the group is sufficiently skilled and well armed to launch a surprise attack against the West.

The sources who spoke about the strikes said that since the raids apparently missed their main targets, Khorasan members are likely still actively planning attacks.

The U.S. attack on the Khorasan Group’s base was part of the first night of air strikes that were launched in Syria last month by the United States and allies.

Subsequent strikes have primarily targeted militants from Islamic State, which has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

Again, let me help: we staged some very splashy bombing raids on Al Qaeda cells (by another name) who weren’t even there. And the imminent threat they (McDonald’s) posed may or may not have been so imminent. But it’s all okay because we’re now bombing the other terrorists, ISIS (Wendy’s), once dissed and dismissed by Obama.

Oh, and as we previously reported, ISIS probably wasn’t there either: reports on the ground say that they got while the getting was good as Obama dithered. In any case, they’re still serving decapitations.

Any questions?

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