Archive for War

It’s Not Whom You Kill, But How

Unlike many military experts and crazy leftists, I am not much bothered by the targeted blasting from the sky of our sworn enemies. No one gets hurt (no one who counts), we create awesome fireballs out of willing martyrs, and the munitions industry makes a killing (ha-ha). Not much to complain about there—and I complain about everything.

I am in no position to tell a Nobel Peace laureate how to conduct a war, but if we’re actually trying to accomplish something more than useful than toasted terrorists and war profiteering, we might have to reconsider (drat):

Coalition aircraft have struck more than 4,800 targets in Syria and Iraq over the past six months, destroying vehicles, tanks, fighting positions and training camps, according to U.S. Central Command. The Pentagon said the strikes have weakened the group’s leadership structure.

Defeating the organization in Iraq and Syria will require a ground force, not just air attacks, analysts and military officials acknowledge.

“Air power is not something that takes and holds ground,” said Jeffrey White, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former Defense Intelligence Agency official. “Control is about a man on the ground with a gun.”

So they’ve been telling us from the beginning. But we’ll always have Kobani!

The article notes how ISIS is expanding “despite” US air raids, but I wonder if we’re not lost in a Fox Butter Field. Maybe ISIS is winning because of US air raids:

The Islamic State’s offensive into Iraq marked a meteoric rise for the organization, which emerged in Syria in 2013 after splitting from al-Qaeda.

Last January, the organization seized towns and cities in Anbar province, a Sunni region in western Iraq, shocking Iraq’s government and Washington policymakers equally. In June, the group expanded into Mosul and other parts of Iraq, imposing a strict form of Islamic law and brutal tactics on the towns and cities it controls.

It demonstrated global aspirations, eclipsing al-Qaeda as the world’s leading jihadist organization. “At the end of the day, success is sexy,” Clarke said.

To avoid being blasted from the sky, one is well advised to disperse on the ground. ISIS and and other affiliated jihadis have proliferated across the Arab world and into Europe. Without boots on the ground—preferably Egyptian, Jordanian, and other Arab boots—the continued success of ISIS looks like a safe bet.

But we can still drop our cool bombs if we like. And I do.

Comments

The Secret’s Out

We’ve had mixed feelings about sharing the news of Israeli medics and doctors treating the wounded from Syria’s civil war. Of course we were eager to educate an ignorant (often willfully so) public about the humanity shown between supposed enemies. But as the Syrians who were treated needed to keep it hush-hush else they pay for their Israeli-restored health with their Syrian-taken lives, we didn’t want to ruin a good thing.

Guess that cat’s out of the bag:

Two years have passed since the State of Israel opened its gates to permit victims of Syria’s conflict to enter the country and receive medical treatment. While the media occasionally publishes articles that include interviews with the wounded or the civilian doctors who provide them treatment, issues such as the stressful and traumatic circumstances IDF paramedics experience in their work are rarely brought to the public’s attention.

The harrowing events experienced by soldiers during their long hours of work has been taking a toll the IDF can no longer ignore. Testimonies collected by Ynet from IDF medics and paramedics who served in the area for the past two years paint an alarming picture, detailing the extent to which IDF medical teams are influenced by the difficult scenes they encounter on almost a daily basis.

Ido (not his real name), who served in the past year as a medic in the sector, describes scenes of what he terms as “institutionalized madness.”

“It’s insane,” he says. “They wake you up at 5 am and tell you that at 8:30, you will have to carry out authorization checks (procedures in which you make sure the wounded are not terrorists) on dozens of severely wounded people who will be waiting for you at the security fence. That’s how you start your day. You brush your teeth, eat breakfast, knowing that in two more hours you’ll be treating an open head wound…It’s crazy.”

“As a medical team, we have a commitment to provide aid to every human being, even if he’s an enemy,” an IDF paramedic regularly stationed at the area said. “An unbelievable amount of wounded people from enemy countries pass through here,” she said, explaining that “you don’t know their names due to secrecy issues.”

Some, she said, are “children who you know were not involved in the any kind of fighting and arrive with a nearly-detached leg, or an elderly man who wasn’t treated for a week, whose hand is infected to the extent that you know that severing it is the only thing that will save his life.”

While the IDF refrains from specifying the exact number of Syrians Israel has taken in so far, estimates place the number at several thousand. According to data from hospitals in the north, as many as 1,000 wounded passed through their doors. Many others were released directly from the military field hospital set up at the border.

You can see how that might take a toll. But leave it to the Israelis to make chicken soup out of chicken poop:

“The advantage of the work is the operational experience we received in treating the wounded, us during Operation Protective Edge. It improved the quality of our medical care more than any training exercise, and helped us not suffer from shock when we were inside Gaza, treating wounded soldiers.”

So, there’s that.

Again, we feel proud even just to share this news. But don’t let it get around. Israel’s got a reputation to protect.

Comments

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.

Comments

Shh! Don’t Mention the Jews!

What’s missing from this picture?

Bipartisan criticism of President Barack Obama’s proposed authorization of force against ISIS mostly has to do with the use of U.S. troops and limits on the commander-in-chief. But one Republican lawmaker noticed something else that he calls quite troubling – omission of the word “Jews.”

Freshman Lee Zeldin is the only Republican Jewish member of Congress, and says it immediately leapt off the page that the President’s proposed resolution specifically singles out several ethnic groups threatened by ISIS: Iraqi Christians, Yezidis and Turkmens, but says nothing about Jews.

“I see an understanding, a recognition in the resolution with regards to ISIS attacks on Muslims, on Christians and others, and I didn’t see a reference to Jews,” Zeldin told CNN in an interview. “And one of the efforts I’ve been involved in is trying to raise awareness for the rising tide of anti-semitism.”

The New York Republican questioned whether the White House deliberately left out Jews as an ethnic group that ISIS has threatened.

Of course they did. As we reported yesterday, they refuse to acknowledge the murder of “folks” in a kosher deli by a bunch of “zealots” as anything but “random”. As I wrote, “Do they hate Israel (apparently) and Netanyahu (absolutely) so much that they would deny a narrative that makes Jews sympathetic?”

Yup.

Comments

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

Comments

US Protected At Least 1000 Nazis After WWII

NY Times has the information

In the decades after World War II, the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.

At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich.

The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.”

And in 1994, a lawyer with the C.I.A. pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official.

Aleksandras Lileikis was a Nazi officer implicated in 60,000 Jews’ deaths. He later worked for the C.I.A. before immigrating. Credit U.S. Department of Justice

Lileikis was apparently massacring Jews from Vilna ghetto (Lithuania) in the killing pits of the Ponary woods. He is just one of the creeps that our government protected. The article states that we protected Adolf Eichmann’s right hand man, for example.

I recommend that everyone go to the link and read this. It will make it much easier to watch the pain of ebola, immigration, crappy economy, etc. You won’t care.

– Aggie

Comments

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.

Comments

Say, How’s That War on the (Non-Islamic) Islamic State Going?

So glad you asked:

On Wednesday, a reporter asked Pentagon press secretary John Kirby what seemed like a simple query: “What would you say about Senator McCain’s assessment that the Islamic State is winning, and the U.S.-led coalition is not?” What followed, however, was a case study in how not to handle a loaded question.

“Well, I’m not gonna, um,” the rear admiral began haltingly. “I would just tell you that — uh — we believe — that — let me put it this way. It’s going to be a long fight. It’s going to be difficult. There’s going to be setbacks. There’s going to be wins and there’s going to be losses. We’re mindful of the complicated nature of this.”

Kirby went on equivocating for another two minutes, claiming he’s “not going to qualify who’s winning and who’s losing today,” that “you can’t judge a strategy based on a day, or a week, or even several weeks,” that “we’ve only been doing air strikes since August 8,” and that the Islamic State is “not getting a win everywhere.”

“So it’s a mixed picture, Phil,” he admitted. “I don’t mean to ramble, but it’s a mixed picture.”

Not exactly “we will fight them on the beaches” material, but that was the Greatest Generation. Ours is somewhat lesser.

Comments

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.

Comments

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.

Comments

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?

Comments

No…Almost None…Few Some Civilians Were Harmed in the Prosecution of This War

But we’re progressives, so it’s okay:

The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.

A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.

The village has been described by Syrian rebel commanders as a reported stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front where U.S officials believed members of the so-called Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international aircraft.

But at a briefing for members and staffers of the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last week, Syrian rebel commanders described women and children being hauled from the rubble after an errant cruise missile destroyed a home for displaced civilians. Images of badly injured children also appeared on YouTube, helping to fuel anti-U.S. protests in a number of Syrian villages last week.

“They were carrying bodies out of the rubble. … I saw seven or eight ambulances coming out of there,” said Abu Abdo Salabman, a political member of one of the Free Syria Army factions, who attended the briefing for Foreign Affairs Committee members and staff. “We believe this was a big mistake.”

You can say that again, Abu. One almost six years old, and we’re still paying for it. As are more than a few innocent Syrian women and children.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told Yahoo News that Pentagon officials “take all credible allegations seriously and will investigate” the reports.

At the same time, however, Hayden said that a much-publicized White House policy that President Obama announced last year barring U.S. drone strikes unless there is a “near certainty” there will be no civilian casualties — “the highest standard we can meet,” he said at the time — does not cover the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

No, of course not. Furthest thing from our minds. I’m sure the seven or eight dead women and children understand (even though I don’t).

I won’t BS you: I know (and have repeatedly written) that when you go to war, you sign on for anything and everything, the very little good, the overwhelming bad, and the disgustingly ugly. War is hell, as the general said.

But will this pack of jackals similarly level with us? Does their “areas of active hostilities” make any sense? Doesn’t an area become hostile when you deem it so by firing a Hellfire missile at it?

Obama seems to believe in war by Marquis of Queensbury rules. No boots on the ground, no civilian deaths. And if some do occur, well, we never promised you a rose garden.

And about the “boots on the ground” promise…

PS: The howls of indignation from the Left will begin in 3…2…1…1…1…

PPS: Don’t hold your breath:

Dana Milbank, the liberal Washington Post columnist who can be tough on liberals, was at the White House for an antiwar demonstration in the wake of Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. A grand total of 22 people showed up.

Here’s what he quoted lefty activist David Swanson as saying:

“If George W. Bush were launching wars with Congress out of town, oh, it would be flooded. They would be screaming.”

Obama, said Swanson, “can get away with some abuses and worse and be forgiven because he engages in wars more eloquently and reluctantly, but the people who die in the wars are just as dead and the people who suffer from the sabotaging of climate agreements have their climate just as destroyed.”

Global warming? Seriously?

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink was asked why so few on the left oppose Obama. “‘He’s totally defanged us,’ she said, citing his party, his affability — and his race. ‘The black community is traditionally the most antiwar community in this country. He’s defanged that sentiment within the black community, or certainly voicing that sentiment.’”

Blaming the brothers. Again.

Andrew Sullivan, a conservative who largely became an Obama booster, is equally incredulous:

“The way in which Obama supporters have lamely acquiesced to this reckless war fomented by a dangerous executive power-grab is more than a little depressing. It strikes me as uncomfortably close to pure partisanship. I can’t imagine them downplaying the folly of this if a Republican president were in charge.”

Some of us knew they were full of it a decade ago and more.

Comments

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »