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.