Archive for War on Terror

The 58.7% President

Illiterate or bullshi**er—we have our answer:

“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.


C…A…very good, sir, just one more letter.

A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.

The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.

“It’s pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” an Obama national security staffer told the Daily Mail on Monday. “He gets them in writing.”

The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.

“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election,” the Obama security staffer told the Daily Mail.

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Islamist Pranks

Those ISIS rogues, talk about punking someone!

Nearly two months on since the US began air strikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in northern Iraq, there are signs that the militants are adapting to the new reality.

Witnesses and tribal sources in IS-controlled areas have reported a drop in the number of militant checkpoints and fighters using mobile phones less, apparently to avoid being targeted by air raids.

Militants have also been seen to ditch conspicuous convoys of armoured vehicles in favour of motorcycles, and there are reports of them planting their black flags on civilian homes and facilities to try to confuse target-spotters.

Darn, that was going to be my Halloween trick! At least I can still wear this costume:

Too soon? Sorry.

Many of the buildings already struck by coalition bombers are reported to have been evacuated prior to the strikes.

A tribal sheikh from a village south of Kirkuk said IS fighters had “abandoned one of their biggest headquarters in the village” when they heard the air campaign was likely to target their area.

“They took all their furniture, vehicles and weapons. Then they planted roadside bombs and destroyed the headquarters,” said the sheikh, who declined to be identified.

“It’s a well-tried and tested formula,” said defence and security expert Paul Gibson, a retired British Army brigadier.

“Once [militants] start facing air strikes, the first thing they’ll do is to reduce the targets available to the coalition forces. They will disperse and reduce their communications by mobile and radio so their electronic signature is reduced.”

I hope Obama ordered a mega-shipment of Allen Edmonds loafers. I don’t see how he’s going to keep that “no boots on the ground” pledge.

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As We Were Saying

Well, we were.

The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air—all for show:

US-led airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group (IS or ISIS) in Syria continue Saturday night, but are failing to slow the jihadis’ advance on the Kurdish border town of Kobane.

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), backed by fighters from the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), have been engaged in a fierce battle with ISIS, as the Islamists seek to seize control of the key town on the border with Turkey.

But though US airstrikes – which President Barack Obama pledged would “degrade and destroy” ISIS – have extended from Iraq to Syria to aid the defense of Kobane, local sources say the strikes have been largely ineffective.

“They struck empty buildings,” YPG’s chief of defense for Kobane, Ismat Sheikh Hassan, told The Independent. “ISIS fighters used to be there but they left, so they haven’t helped us. If anything, they are now fighting harder to push forward before there are more strikes.”

Maybe if Obama put the latte down when he saluted the men who serve at his command, he’d see how badass they are, and how a few of them might actually scare ISIS. Fireworks don’t seem to be doing the trick.

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Is This Still Smart Power?

It’s no surprise that that most self-celebrating of social media, Twitter, is this regime’s go-to method of foreign policy.

There was Michelle:

Then Jen Psaki:

Of course, Barack’s selfie:

With such a record of success, it’s no wonder they brought the hashtag to bear in the war on terror:

The State Department social media initiative designed to engage with ISIS terrorists and jihadist sympathizers is “embarrassing,” “ineffective” and “distressing,” the head of a prominent intelligence group wrote Tuesday in a scathing editorial.

The “Think Again Turn Away” campaign and Twitter account, launched by the State Department in December, in part, to dissuade on-the-fence jihadists from joining the fight against the West is actually serving to embolden and legitimize the social media presence of bloodthirsty terrorists already on the ground, Rita Katz, the director of the SITE Intelligence Group, wrote in a Time magazine article published online Tuesday.

The State Department’s “English-language outreach program is not only ineffective, but also provides jihadists with a stage to voice their arguments,” Katz claimed, calling the initiative’s Twitter account a “gaffe machine that “walks dangerous ethical lines.”

“Thirteen years into the war on terror, it is distressing to see certain ways the U.S. government is combating domestic radicalization by groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State,” Katz wrote. The account regularly (engages) in petty disputes with fighters and supporters of groups like IS (also known as ISIS), Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab, and (argues) over who has killed more people while exchanging sarcastic quips.”

“In order to counter a problem, one must first study it before adopting a solution. Had the people behind Think Again Turn Away understood jihadists’ mindsets and reasons for their behavior, they would have known that their project of counter messaging would not only be a waste of taxpayer money, but ultimately be counterproductive,” she wrote. “I would much rather see the State Department’s online ventures involved in projects that explain the great things American policies have achieved — not arguing with jihadi fighters on who killed more innocent Muslims.”

I don’t think they’re getting any smarter:

The U.S. State Department ratcheted up the online propaganda war on Wednesday, tweeting a photo composite showing four dead ISIS jihadis who it suggested were killed in overnight airstrikes in Syria.

The ‘Think Again Turn Away’ program’s Twitter account blasted out the image to nearly 8,000 followers. The initiative’s goal is to dissuade would-be jihadis, including so-called ‘foreign fighters,’ from joining up with ISIS.

One ISIS-linked Twitter account with nearly 10,000 followers claimed Tuesday night that the ‘first victims of air strikes by US on Syria’ were ‘children and women.’

Another tweeted news stories from dubious sources claiming French fighter jets mistakenly bombed Kurdish allies, killing 75 fighters in a friendly-fire cockup.

Separately, a weeks-long Twitter campaign centered around the hashtag #AMessageFromISIStoUS spread a series of chest-puffing boasts, including direct threats against the U.S. homeland.

We rightly condemn ISIS for broadcasting their executions of innocents hostages. But posting pictures of dead terrorists? In a Twitter account? By our government? Not only is it juvenile, it’s unseemly. Kill ‘em, kill ‘em all. Just don’t act like them.

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Read His Lips

Let him be clear:

Speaking at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, after visiting U.S. Central Command, Obama told troops: “I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

-ish:

But shortly afterward, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified that Dempsey was talking about the possible need to put U.S. troops already in Iraq into “forward-deployed positions with Iraqi troops.”

Earnest said that step has not yet been necessary, but if Dempsey asks to “forward deploy” American advisers, “the president said he would consider it on a case-by-case basis.”

He said, in that scenario, U.S. troops “would be providing tactical advice to Iraqi security forces” or be in position to call in airstrikes.

“They would not have a combat role. They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy,” Earnest stressed.

Uh-huh. And if the enemy engages them? What then?

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing Sept. 16 about the U.S. policy to combat the Islamic State featuring testimony from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey. Here is Dempsey’s statement.

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President.”

Barack Obama thinks he’s a better general than his generals.

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All About the Benjamins

So now that ISIS and we are at w—…what is it again? A “very significant counter-terrorism operation [that’s] going to go on for some period of time.” Yeah. Now that we’re doing that, how is the anti-w—…counter-terr—oh, eff it! How’s the antiwar crowd taking it?

Medea?

Medea, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you respond to President Obama’s speech and the fact that the vast majority of Americans polled support taking military action in Iraq and Syria?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: I think President Obama has been hounded by the media, by the war hawks in Congress, mostly from the Republican side but also from the Democrats, and is going into this insane not only bombing in Iraq, but also talking about going into Syria, at a time when just a couple of months ago the American people had made it very clear that we were very tired of war.

So, the most powerful man in the world, a man gifted with such intelligence, such articulateness, such cleanliness—and “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one”—has been “hounded” by the press and the Republicans into “insanity”.

That’s your story?

Oh, Medea, and we remember you when you had guts:

Literally.

Now, this is the best you can do:

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, the peace movement was really decimated when Obama came in, and has been trying to rebuild ever since. But I think now we have to think of all of us as the peace movement. Now is the time to say, if you’re an environmentalist, you better understand that war is the greatest environmental disaster and the U.S. military is the greatest polluter on the planet. If you care about having money for youth groups or for infrastructure or for green energy, you better understand that sucking money into the military—we’re now paying $7.5 million for just the bombing in Iraq.

Seven-and-a-half million to bomb Iraq? What a bargain! Screw the youth groups and “green” energy (algae?), hit the bid! At that price, it would be a waste of money not to bomb Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan, are you going sit idly by and take that?

Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
I believe the reason that the presidents of the US can continue to make such belligerent and jingoistic speeches and follow through with the continuation of endless wars is because the American people keep falling for the propaganda and the lie that either one of the two major political parties is better than the other when it comes to war for profit. I think last night’s speech by Obama was just a regurgitation of any speech by GWB and shame on anybody who is falling for this same tired, yet hostile, rhetoric. It would be funny if so many lives weren’t unnecessarily compromised because of US aggression.

Regular readers know that we check in on Cindy’s rantings from time to time. She may be mad as a hatter, but we share this: we’re consistent. She’s always against “time-limited, scope-limited military actions”; we’re usually for them. The only difference being we trusted George Bush and his people to get it right (eventually). We have no such faith in Obama.

But if bombing ISIS is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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On the War* With the Islamic** State***

*It’s not a war.

**It’s not Islamic.

***It’s not a state.

So, what is “it”, and what are we “doing” about it? Hey, we just told you what it’s not—why can’t that be enough? Next you’ll want the recipe to Michelle’s kale cupcakes.

Some in the Obama administration run from the w-word like the French fun from w itself (cheap shot). Others therein wrap themselves in the battle colors like a latter day Barbara Fritchie. But this is the same administration that blamed the Benghazi atrocity on a YouTube video—and then successfully dodged responsibility for doing so (for a time).

Speaking of Benghazi, remember that Libya was no war either.

Remember what it was?

It’s not a war, the White House says.

Instead, Libya is “a time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners, with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya from Moammar Gadhafi and his forces,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Pressed on the point by reporters, Carney said, “I’m not going to get into the terminology,” but Libya is not an “open-ended military action, the kind of which might otherwise be described as a war.”

“There’s no ground troops, as the president said,” Carney said. “There’s no land invasion.”

“A time-limited, scope-limited military action”: wonder why they didn’t bring back that gem from 18 months ago? Look at what it did for Libya. Oh wait…

Libya Closer To Failed-State Status, Ushering In Possible ISIS, Jihadist Haven

Well, that was from yesterday. Maybe things are better now.

So, our “strategy” against a non-Islamic non-state is to conduct a non-war, which is, rather, a non-Iraq, non-Afghanistan, quasi-Libyan-cum-Yemen “very significant counter-terrorism operation [that’s] going to go on for some period of time.”

Got it?

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He Said It, Not Me

James Foley could not be reached for comment:

It’s too soon to say what steps the United States will take against ISIS in Syria, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Obama told reporters during a White House news briefing. “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

ISIS? What’s that?

The Islamic State group has a long history of expanding its power and preying on the weaknesses of its regional rivals, according to a new report that challenges the notion that the militant organization has only recently emerged as a threat.

Despite some assertions that the group only achieved prominence in June 2014 — about the time it began sweeping across Iraq in a violent offensive — the militants have steadily been gaining power in the region since 2010, the report by the West Point counterterrorism center concludes.

Over those four years, the report says the Islamic State patiently prepared operations that managed to dissolve some of Iraq’s security forces by targeting and demolishing the homes of its soldiers or, in some cases, assassinating troops.

Warning signs that the Islamic State was becoming increasingly dangerous became evident after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “rebooted” the organization in 2010, the report notes. As a result, the Islamic State has been able to develop a highly motivated infantry force since 2012, enabling its members to launch a wave of 20 multicity synchronized car bomb attacks that lasted until the end of 2013, the report states.

Can ya hurry it up with the strategy there, Mr. Prez?

President Obama will be in New York this weekend to attend the wedding of his personal chef and an MSNBC host.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance on Saturday when chef Sam Kass and journalist Alex Wagner tie the knot at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, Politico reported.

Kass is the personal chef of the First Family and also the executive director of Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move,’ which aims to change eating and exercising habits among Americans. Wagner hosts the weekday MSNBC program ‘Now with Alex Wagner.’

They’ve has been described by Vogue as politics’ ‘It’ couple of the year.

Is that supposed to be some crack about Chef Kass’s chrome dome?

Go ahead and take the weekend off, sir. You’ve been working nonstop lately.

It will be a busy weekend for the Obamas.

On Friday, the president is expected at two fundraisers in Westchester and a third one in Rhode Island.

On Sunday, the Obamas will attend the US Open before heading out, according to Talk of the Sound, which first broke the news of the president’s visit to Westchester.

Oh, by the way. Remember that curious, unexplained trip back to the mainland that Obama took in the middle of his Vineyard vacation—at an additional cost of more than a million dollars when Air Force and Marine Ones are accounted for, along with the motorcade and other security protocols?

Can you say “bachelor party?”

Speculation for why Obama returned focused around the possibility of a secret foreign leader meeting or the rollout of a new administration initiative on immigration or corporate taxes.

But no such explanation materialized.

The most unusual deviation from a normal day at the White House was Obama’s dinner Monday night at Sam Kass’s home. The president, joined by deputy chief of staff Anita Breckenridge, spent nearly five hours at the White House chef’s Dupont Circle duplex apartment.

It’s possible that the party may have been a celebration of Kass’s impending nuptials to MSNBC host Alex Wagner. The couple announced their engagement last September. But the White House provided no details of the meal.

There better not have been cupcakes for dessert. Michelle would have been waiting by the door with a rolling pin.

In summary, while ISIS has been getting the caliphate band back together, Obama and his Merry Men (and underpaid women) have been gamboling in the sand and sea, downing lobster tails and vinagrette-d arugula, partying like Kennedys (though not driving like them), and generally behaving about as unseriously as a person could behave in the face of chaos and perfected evil.

No wonder “we don’t have a strategy yet.”

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Rats Joining the Sinking Ship

What others see as a worry or a concern, BTL sees as an opportunity:

U.S. spy agencies have begun to see groups of fighters abandoning al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Africa to join the rival Islamist organization that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and been targeted in American airstrikes, U.S. officials said.

The movements are seen by U.S. ­counterterrorism analysts as a worrisome indication of the expanding appeal of a group known as the Islamic State that has overwhelmed military forces in the region and may now see itself in direct conflict with the United States.

“Small groups from a number of al-Qaeda affiliates have defected to ISIS,” as the group is also known, said a U.S. official with access to classified intelligence assessments. “And this problem will probably become more acute as ISIS continues to rack up victories.”

Now that President Obama has woken up to the reality of slaughtered Christians, starving Yazidis, and depraved, subhuman savages in ISIS, this just makes our job easier. It may be hard to pick off Al Qaeda pockets here, there, and everywhere. But if the terrorists want to hop into the pool of blood that is Iraq, I say come on in the water’s fine. Just drop bigger bombs.

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More Mush From the Wimp

Boy, if that isn’t a standing headline:

President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”

“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”

Well, this fair-minded person doesn’t believe water-boarding or sleep deprivation constitute torture. I don’t think any training method we use on our own special ops trainees constitutes torture. We can disdain them, we can elect not to use them, but shame on he who demagogues over them:

“After I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report,” Obama said Friday. “And my hope is that this report reminds us once again that, you know, the character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard.”

In April 2009, Obama reiterated his position that waterboarding amounted to torture and “violates our ideals and our values.”

I’ve already stated my position. KSM ought to have been waterboarded. I’m proud that we did so. I’m not privy to the intelligence we gained, but I expect we got plenty. And that lives were saved because of it. That doesn’t violate my ideals or values in the least. And KSM is still alive and kicking.

PS: We all know Obama’s preferred expression of our ideals and values: summary execution by Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone.

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What Do Americans Know That Their Leaders Don’t Know?

Plenty:

Fifty-nine percent (59%) believe there is a global conflict between the Muslim world and Western civilization. Seventeen percent (17%) disagree, but 24% are not sure. These findings are consistent with earlier surveying.

Count me, and any sentient being, among the 59%. If you asked that question in the Muslim world I’m certain the percentage who agreed would be even higher. In any continent not covered with an ice sheet there is a significant, often bloody, conflict between the Muslim world and Western civilization (dare I write just civilization).

Among our other insights:

Many hoped that the “Arab Spring” protests that began three years ago would lead to a new era of democracy in a number of Islamic countries, but U.S. voters now see that as increasingly unlikely and think the changes there have been bad for America.

[J]ust 27% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That’s down eight points from 35% in April and 47% a year ago.

[J]ust 44% now think the United States is too involved in the Middle East, down from 54% last October. Twenty-one percent (21%) say we are not involved enough in that region, an 11-point jump from 10% in the last survey.

Considering what counts for “involvement” with the Obama regime, I’m afraid I can’t agree with my countrymen. Butt out of Israeli affairs. Let them win.

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Arab EMTs

When the going gets tough, the terrorists scatter like so many cockroaches:

But as pathetically humorous as it is to watch the little Arab rats scurry and hide, it’s nowhere near as pathetically humorous as watching the little Arab rats play-acting:

Hee-hee. Pallywood really ought to sell tickets for these comic shorts. They’re blockbuster.

There are a few among the dead whose deaths I’m sure I regret. A few. But if Hamass fires off missiles and mortars from behind the skirts of Arab grannies, Israel not only can fire back, it must. Chalk up all deaths to Hamass.

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