Archive for War

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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We Get Results

Just the other day I asked where was Medea Benjamin and Code Pink now that we’re going to wa—, no, wait a minute…time-limited, scope-limited…no, that’s not it.

“A very significant counterterrorism operation”:

Before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel could finish the first sentence of his opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, protesters from anti-war NGO Code Pink infiltrated the room and shouted down the Defense Secretary and committee chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.).

“No more war!” the protester shouted. “The American public does not want war! We do not want war! No military solution to this! No more war! No more war! No military solution!”

“You’re acting very warlike yourself,” Levin said.

After Hagel’s opening statement, two more protesters from Code Pink stood up in an attempt to interrupt the hearing and were promptly removed from the chamber, but not before shouting, “No more war! No military solution!” several more times.

That’s not all that happened:

Untitled

[T]hings took a turn for the creepy when another protester, another young woman took the floor, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) quipped, “I always enjoy attention from this group,” prompting another senator to shoot back, “I don’t think she’s old enough for you.”

What good is being an old man if you can’t be a dirty old man? Good for Code Pink—I’d rather see this hottie than Medea Benjamin or Cindy Sheehan, God forbid.

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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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Don’t Mention the War! [UPDATED] [TWICE!]

Just so everybody understands: we aim to “destroy” ISIS, not go to war with it.

Got it?

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Kerry said on Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a separate interview with CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan, Kerry said “war is the wrong terminology” to describe U.S. operations against ISIS.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry said.

We can all agree that that is patently absurd, right? No need for further discussion? Good.

If I had to guess, such equivocation is in line with Obama’s left-foot-in-left-foot-out strategy:

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

In a nationally-televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Obama repeatedly emphasized that U.S. forces will not have a combat role in Iraq. “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president said. He specifically underscored that “this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and will resemble U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia.

Austin’s predecessor, Marine Gen. James Mattis, told the Washington Post that the president’s decision may place the mission at risk. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

You may understand war, General, but you’re a but you’re a buck private at politics. You can’t wrap yourself in the Not Bush Cloak for six years, and then slough it off to reveal yourself as the drawling Texan himself. Soldiers and American people be damned, he’d rather lose as Obama than win as Bush.

PS: Oh wait. There’s an even more obvious (and absurd) reason John Kerry won’t call it a war. They’d have to get Congress’s permisssion. Which is also what Bush did. Can’t have that.

UPDATE: To war! To war! Fredonia’s going to war!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday during his daily press briefing that the battle against ISIS now mirrors the ongoing War on Terror closely enough to use the ‘W’ word.

‘The fact is ISIL has indicated that they’re ready to go to war against the world,’ Earnest said, ‘and this president – as is expected of American presidents – is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL.’

‘So I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates all around the globe.’

Of course you know, this means war.

UPPERDATE

Or does it?

BLITZER: It sounds like a war to me. Is it fair to call it a war?

[SUSAN] RICE: Well, Wolf, I don’t know whether you want to call it a war or a sustained counterterrorism campaign or — I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time. It will be sustained. We will not have American combat forces on the ground fighting, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war.

So I think this is very different from that.

Be as Earnest as you like, Josh, you wouldn’t know war if it bit you in the ass. I just hope this isn’t literally the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Sraight.

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“Be With You in a Minute, Mr. Peabody!”

Cineastes will recognize the title of this post as the line repeatedly shouted out by Cary Grant in that screwiest of screwball comedies, Bringing Up Baby, as he chases Katherine Hepburn and a leopard around a country estate. Mr. Peabody is the potential donor to Grant’s paleontological studies, but poor Cary can barely catch his breath, let alone his quarry, the eponymous Baby the leopard.

President Obama can relate. Can’t a man take a two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation—interrupted by a bachelor party—followed by a weekend wedding and several fundraising appearances without the world falling apart? To quote from another great film, The Incredibles, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved, you know?”

So I just have to ask, do we have a strategy for this?

Ukraine’s president has said his country is “close to a point of no return – full scale-war”.

Petro Poroshenko was speaking in Brussels, where he said a meeting of EU leaders had agreed to prepare more sanctions against Russia.

Outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton earlier accused Russia of “direct aggression” in east Ukraine.

Russia denies that its forces are backing rebels, who have been gaining ground on Ukrainian forces.

Mr Poroshenko said Ukraine was a victim of “military aggression and terror”.

He said: “I think that we are very close to the point of no return. Point of no return is full-scale war.

Because it would appear this is Putin’s strategy:

Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev that Russian tanks had entered the small Ukrainian town of Novosvitlivka on the border with Russia and fired on every house.

“We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed.”

That strategy would appear to be: first they came for Crimea, but we did not speak up because we were not Crimean; then they came for Donetsk, but we did not speak up because we were not Donetskan; then they came for Novosvitlivka, but we did not speak up because we were not Novosvitlivkan.

That strategy appears to be working so far.

Our strategy…well, maybe we’re playing the long game:

President Obama was among the guests at the wedding of White House chef Sam Kass late Saturday, according to a White House pool report.

Obama, the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, attended the ceremony at a farm-to-table restaurant in Westchester County, New York.

The first family departed Blue Hill at Stone Barns at 1:05 a.m. Sunday morning after spending six-and-a-half hours at the wedding festivities, according to a reporter traveling with the president.

The Obamas returned to the White House shortly before 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, approximately two-and-a-half hours behind schedule.

You say two and a half hours, I say two and a half years. But we can all agree that this sort of behavior has no place in the 21st century. Okay, Vlad? So, just cool it.

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Israel Guilty as Charged

Of going too easy:

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) has called on the government to take a much firmer hand with Hamas, just hours before a ceasefire is rumored to go into effect Monday.

Aharonovich made his comments following a “difficult” visit to the Tragerman family, whose four-year-old son Daniel was killed in a mortar attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel on Friday.

“With a terrorist group you need to deal in a far more violent and harsh way, to defeat it. I have said this already a number of times in the past.”

“What is important to us is to return security to the residents of the State, with an emphasis on the south,” he continued.

Hard to argue with that.

And I don’t dispute this:

Barak Seener, an Associate fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, thinks Israel is “choosing not to win” the war in Gaza.

“In general,” he explained, “modern warfare is not geared towards protracted conflict, and thus Israel should have initially gone in harder. This was prevented by a lack of extensive sound intelligence of tunnels and the whereabouts of Hamas operatives. Israel’s diplomatic standing will decline as Europe does not anymore understand the power of ideologies, let alone a genocidal, zero sum game Islamist and suicidal ideology.”

“There is so much that has been reported in Israeli news outlets but has not been reported in European outlets. This includes Hamas executing Fatah members, children digging tunnels, concrete being redirected to building tunnels rather than hospitals and schools, the affluence of Hamas’s leadership who divert funding to the Palestinians to their own personal accounts, even pictures of tunnels were reported by the Washington Post a few weeks earlier than Reuters.

“The main issue is that Israel should take exactly the same initiatives (not more) as Allied forces have done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. While it is natural that Israel should seek to avoid civilian casualties, its priority is to its own civilians and soldiers.

I dispute only this: “Europe does not anymore understand the power of ideologies, let alone a genocidal, zero sum game Islamist and suicidal ideology.”

Europe understands all too well: James Foley’s executioner was British. Europeans are just praying that the Islamist threat will spare them if they ignore or submit to it. Which is how Europe deals with most threats. Israel does not have that “luxury”.

PS: If there is such a thing as a “just war”—and I believe there is—the irrevocable defeat of Hamass would have to qualify. Not a truce or a stalemate (during which Hamass would merely rearm), but an unqualified, unconditional defeat. Hamass has not amended its genocidal charter; it has not softened its warcraft. Indeed, to indiscriminate shelling of Israeli civilians they have now added human shields to their tactics. No mosque, school, or hospital is safe from their militarization. Where is the morality in leaving even a trace of such a regime? The “war crime” is in leaving it intact.

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Good Morning!

New day, new Hamass atrocity:

A “humanitarian ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas has broken Friday, after Hamas fired yet another salvo of rockets on Israel despite the bilateral truce.

Heavy fighting has now broken out between Israel and Hamas in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian sources, who also claim that eight terrorists have been killed since 10:00 am.

Rocket fire from Hamas and Islamic Jihad has resumed.

Mortar shells have been fired in the Eshkol region; no injuries were reported, but a brushfire started and is spreading. Firefighting teams are working to stymie the blaze.

The Iron Dome missile defense system also shot down two rockets over Ofakim Friday afternoon.

“Once again the terror organizations in Gaza flagrantly violating the ceasefire to which they committed themselves, this time to the US Secretary of State and the UN Secretary General,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, without pointing to a specific incident.

Earlier, Hamas fired a salvo of rockets at the south just before 7:00 am Friday; two rockets hit open areas in S’dot HaNegev and in the Merhavim area. No injuries or damage were reported.

Additional rockets were fired at Ashkelon and Ashdod, just after 7:30 am. Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over Ashdod; there are no reports of injuries or damage.

Yet another salvo was fired, just five minutes before 8:00 am, at Gaza Belt communities.

The barrages were fired just minutes before a 72-hour ceasefire was to take effect, in a UN and US-brokered deal slated to begin 8:00 am Friday.

There is even a report that an Israeli soldier was captured.

I ask John Kerry and the striped-pants brigade to please dispense with the peace “processes”. Israel has a job to do; fifty-six soldiers have died to protect their country. How about for a change you let Israel win?

As others are asking:

“We call on the Prime Minister to return Israel her sovereignty,” MK Miri Regev (Likud) stated Friday. “We must stop these cease-fires – they give over a message of hesitancy.”

“We must not accept a single condition in a cease-fire,” she continued. “We must either demilitarize or retake Gaza; there is no middle ground. Now is the time.”

Regev’s statements surface after weeks of similar statements from ministers, many of whom have conveyed disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s willingness to dabble in the demands of the international community regarding a cease-fire.

Another voice in the chorus:

Feiglin does not believe in going after rocket launchers or tunnels. Gaza should be retaken in whole, he said, by directly attacking the Hamas leadership and striving for victory, and doing so according to Jewish law, without sacrificing soldiers in order to save members of the local population, which voted Hamas into power.

Once this is accomplished, the terrorists who fight Israel must be destroyed, he said, and the remaining population should be encouraged to leave through monetary compensation. Surveys show that 80% of Gazans would like to leave the Mediterranean coastal strip and move elsewhere in the world. The minority that decides to stay will be allowed to stay and gradually receive a status similar to the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem.

We see in the short term (overnight) that Israel can’t trust or work with Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The chronicle of the last 65 years or so demonstrates they can’t trust or work with them in the long term either. If Kerry and his ilk really wanted peace they’d support the single state of Israel from the river to the sea. Anything less is just a Jewish ghetto.

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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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D-Day

Charles Durning (he begins at about 1:30):

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The Odessa File

You know what happens when Israelis around in a crisis.

The doctor (or medical student) is in:

A few hundred Israelis studying abroad in Ukraine have been treating victims of the violence between government forces and pro-Russian militants.

Gonen, a 25-year-old from southern Israel studying medicine in Odessa, described the mayhem that has engulfed the city since Friday. “Yesterday noon the hostilities started. An activist friend of mine asked me and my friends to help treat the wounded.

“We set up a command and control center just like Magen David Adom (emergency personnel) and brought in the victims. We were three Israelis and four Turkish nationals. We treated about 30 people across the city.”

Gonen, a second-year medical students who served as a medic in the IDF, said local residents bought the team bandages and disinfectants: “You can’t rely on the Ukrainian authorities from a medical point of view. There were few ambulances so we arrived at different places and simply treated people in the street.

“We treated them until nighttime. We saw fatalities; this usually-pastoral scene became a war zone. I treated one wounded man while he was surrounded by corpses and people crying and screaming.”

“I felt safe until now, but I won’t walk around the city anymore. There are pro-Russian militants carrying Israeli flags to provoke the population. The Israelis here just want to go home,” said Gonen.

Sadly, in this world we live in, home is where you belong.

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Kung Fool

Some say President Obama has been beaten up for his lunch money by Vladimir Putin. We reject that charge.

Beating him up for his lunch money is what China is doing:

China is waging political warfare against the United States as part of a strategy to drive the U.S. military out of Asia and control seas near its coasts, according to a Pentagon-sponsored study.

A defense contractor report produced for the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s think tank on future warfare, describes in detail China’s “Three Warfares” as psychological, media, and legal operations. They represent an asymmetric “military technology” that is a surrogate for conflict involving nuclear and conventional weapons.

The unclassified 566-page report warns that the U.S. government and the military lack effective tools for countering the non-kinetic warfare methods, and notes that U.S. military academies do not teach future military leaders about the Chinese use of unconventional warfare. It urges greater efforts to understand the threat and adopt steps to counter it.

“The Three Warfares is a dynamic three dimensional war-fighting process that constitutes war by other means,” said Cambridge University professor Stefan Halper, who directed the study. “It is China’s weapon of choice in the South China Sea.”

The study concludes that in the decade ahead China will employ unconventional warfare techniques on issues ranging from the Senkaku Islands dispute in northeast Asia to the disputed Paracels in the South China Sea.

For the United States, the Three Warfares seek to curtail U.S. power projection in Asia that is needed to support allies, such as Japan and South Korea, and to assure freedom of navigation by attempting to set terms for allowing U.S. access to the region.

The use of psychological, media, and legal attacks by China is part of an effort to raise “doubts about the legitimacy of the U.S. presence.”

Let us amend our assertion that China is beating up Obama for his lunch money. He’s handing it over of his own free will, saying they deserve it more than he does. Besides, China is just a “regional power”, acting “out of weakness”.

If this were a good world in which everyone could be trusted, there might be no need for the US to project its strength around the globe, But his is a world with China, Russia, Iran, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc. in it. There are consequences for weakness, perceived or real, but unless the Russians lob a nuke onto the 17 green at Andrews Air Base, Obama will never have to face them.

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