Al Qaeda debuts new currency

March 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

If the president needs a target for his drone list, I’d suggest finding out where these are printed and then expressing our displeasure with a Hellfire or three.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Osama Bin Laden bill

Reportedly, Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIL) is circulating its own one hundred “Islamic” pound note in western Iraq with a picture of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

The new bills are quite a curious development considering that Islamists normally regard paper currencies as unclean “infidel” currencies invented by non-Muslim imperialists.  Islamists prefer gold dinars and silver dirhams such as those used by Muhammad according to traditional Islamic texts.

ISIL may have chosen a denomination of 100 because of the popularity of U.S. $100 bills in Iraq, where they are nicknamed “ghosts” because of Iraqi perceptions of Benjamin Franklin’s sprectral appearance.

Presumably, the new currency is more of a publicity stunt than an actual, working currency that could be used to pay the wages of their fighters.  The money would seem to have limited usefulness to ISIL’s men and their families, because…

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#Benghazi: One year later, and they don’t give a damn

September 12, 2013
"Forget honor. What about justice?"

“US consulate, Benghazi. Remember?”

Yesterday was not only the anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the United States, but it was also the first anniversary of the massacre in Benghazi, where our ambassador and three other Americans were slaughtered by al Qaeda-aligned Muslims waging jihad.

At NRO’s Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty notes that the crowd that once shouted “Bush lied, people died!” doesn’t seem to care all that much about blatant, obvious lies coming from the Obama administration:

Don’t they care that our ambassador and his team were sent to a facility with ludicrously insufficient security?

Don’t they care to know whether something could have been done that night to save those men, and if so, why a rescue mission wasn’t launched? Look at a map. This is a Libyan city on a coast, facing the Mediterranean, south of Europe and all of our NATO allies. Less than a year earlier, we had been running a major multinational combat operation right there…

Don’t they care that the explanation offered by our government was false? These folks who screamed “Bush Lied, People Died” from 2003 to 2008 now shrug about lies about how and why Americans were killed.

Don’t they care that despite Obama’s pledge that “justice will be done,” no one has been caught, jailed, or executed for their role in the attack?

No, actually, they don’t. That’s because most of the Left (with a few exceptions) didn’t really care about war in Afghanistan and Iraq; what mattered then was the party of the president and the majority in Congress. What mattered was power at any cost, putting the parochial political interests of the Democratic Party ahead of the nation (1) and, yes, truth itself.

Now that there’s a (D) after the president’s name, well… that’s different! Libya? Four dead Americans? Jaw-dropping incompetence? People died, Obama lied? (2)

Meh.

Footnotes:
(1) I will never, ever forgive that wretch Harry Reid (D-NV) for undercutting troops in the field by claiming “The war is lost” just as the Surge operation was about to begin in Iraq.
(2) Not only Obama, but Hillary Clinton, Jay Carney, Susan Rice, and so many more….

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2013

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iconic firefighter photo almost excluded from 9/11 memorial exhibit

July 28, 2013
"Patriotism. How gauche."

“Patriotism. How gauche.”

Because, you see, it’s too “rah-rah American”:

According to Elizabeth Greenspan, author of the up coming book Battle for Ground Zero (St. Martin’s Press), Michael Shulan, creative director of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, thought about cutting the famed photo from Ground Zero of three firefighters raising the American flag amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center…because he thought it was too “rah-rah America.” Shulan said, “I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently.”

The “problem” was eventually solved by adding other pictures, “to undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment…'”, according to the museum’s curator. See, the lone image was just too simplistic, hiding the complexities and meaning of what happened that day.

Just what part of nearly 3,000 Americans being massacred by Muslims waging  jihad is too simple for you, Mikey? What complexity, what nuance, what other perspective is lacking? The jihadists’? Point-of-view shots from the cockpits as the planes were about to slam into the towers? Should you have included a plaque of the text of Bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa declaring war on us? That would introduce some of your beloved meaning, letting the al Qaeda leader explain in his own words why 9/11 was only justice for our crimes, how we’re as much to blame by making them hate us. And who is to judge who is right? Complexity! Perspective! Meaning!

I hope you’ll forgive this simple American for being too “rah-rah,” Michael, but that single image carries more layers of meaning than I suspect you, trapped in a decadent, nihilist multiculturalism, could ever understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Lawrence O’Donnell: How many firefighters were killed on 9/11 by Rudy Giuliani?

June 7, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

I’m convinced this guy must be some sort of a sociopath. No one with any human empathy could say this kind of crap.

Originally posted on Twitchy:

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell obviously hasn’t taken Twitter’s advice on tweeting while he’s, um, exhausted. His tweet tonight equating the 9/11 attacks with Benghazi might make sense if there weren’t copious evidence that the U.S. consulate in Libya had advance warning that terrorists were gearing up for an attack. And in retrospect, Mayor Rudy Giuliani could have told firefighters to stand down and not attempt a rescue at Ground Zero, and then gone to bed.

No, scratch that earlier point: there’s no way O’Donnell’s tweet makes any sense at all aside from it being a classic case…

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Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2012

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Eleven years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, Muslims waging “jihad fi sabil Allah,” with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, the last surviving Medal of Honor winner from Pearl Harbor.

NOTE: This is a republishing of a post I put up each December 7th.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Arab Spring: US ambassador murdered in Libya, US embassy in Egypt besieged

September 12, 2012

Hurt feelings.

The Islamic World sent its regards on the anniversary of September 11th:

Looks like President Obama’s much-touted Arab Spring has become the Arab Autumn.

Tuesday Muslim militants stormed the American Embassy in Cairo, tore down the U.S. flag and raised their own banner. In Libya, militants stormed an American consulate, set it on fire and killed four people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The alleged reason: Someone made a video that insulted Allah. So, naturally that’s the United States’ fault. Never mind the $9 million a day U.S. bombing of Libya to rid those folks of Col. Qadhafi and his amazing hat collection. Never mind the $1 billion in annual aid to Egypt and not-so gentle nudging out of democracy-challenged President Mubarak last year.

Apparently the ever-so-sensitive Muslim feelings were hurt by a short, badly made video criticizing Muhammad. The video had been available since at least July (h/t Howie), but it took until, oddly enough, until September 11th for the mobs to become enraged enough to actually do something, much like the murderous riots over the Muhammad cartoons several years ago.

If the words “coordinated” and “pre-planned” come to mind, you’re not alone.

Libya is, of course, by far the worst of the situation so far: at least three, perhaps four Americans are dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was visiting the Benghazi consulate at the time. I don’t know if the consulate had any Marine guards, but there’s a disturbing report that the Libyans hired to protect the consulate first whisked to ambassador to a “safer” location, then told the mob where he was:

Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said the four Americans were killed when the angry mob, which gathered to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, fired guns and burned down the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

He said Stevens, 52, and other officials were moved to a second building – deemed safer – after the initial wave of protests at the consulate compound. According to al-Sharef, members of the Libyan security team seem to have indicated to the protesters the building to which the American officials had been relocated, and that building then came under attack.

For what it’s worth (and it isn’t much) the Libyan president (more like the “Mayor of Tripoli”) has issued an abject apology:

Libya’s interim president has apologized to the United States for the attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi that killed the American ambassador and three of his staff.

Mohammed el-Megarif described the attack as “cowardly” and offered his condolences on the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans. Speaking to reporters, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relations with the United States. He said the three Americans were security guards.

While I don’t hold the Libyan government at fault in this –they’re just too weak– this atrocity cannot go unpunished. Though we often criticize (and sometimes rightly so) our diplomats for being too accommodating, Foreign Service Officers are accredited representatives of the United States, often spending years away from home working in very dangerous places to further American interests. They are entitled to absolute protection by the host country under centuries-old international law and, when that protection is denied or fails, it is the duty of the United States to retaliate for any outrage. Our diplomats, volunteers all, deserve no less.

President Obama must do more than issue a condemnation or fire a perfunctory volley of missiles at some tents. If the Libyan government cannot bring these barbarians to justice, Obama must order the intelligence and military services to hunt these people down and kill them. If an organization was behind it, he must order their destruction. Whether it’s accomplished tomorrow or years from now, the enemies of the United States must know they will pay a fatal price for killing our people.

Anything less will be interpreted by the jihadists as weakness and only invite more atrocities.

RELATED: In a new low for US public diplomacy, while trying to fend off the mob in Cairo, the US Embassy there issued a groveling apology for Americans exercising their natural right of free speech. On September 11th. What a surprise, it didn’t work. (And if you want a legitimate reason to criticize our diplomats, here ya go.) Questions: The Embassy in Egypt is sovereign American soil. It is entitled to protection from the host country. Where the Hell was the Egyptian Army during all this? Did Muslim Brotherhood member President Morsi approve of his Salafist allies’ actions? Does he understand the words “act of war?” And about our Smart Power leadership: When it became clear the embassy was not getting the protection it needed (or any at all), why wasn’t the Egyptian ambassador hauled into the State Department and read the Riot Act? It was 3AM. Why wasn’t Obama on the phone with Morsi demanding he clear the streets? We give them a billion dollars a year in aid Cairo desperately needs, and I say that gives us a damn lot of leverage. As in “if those streets aren’t cleared in two hours, or if any American or native embassy employee is hurt, kiss off every last cent.”

RELATED II: It’s been noted in several places that the peaceful and tolerant Muslims barbarian mob in Cairo raised the al Qaeda banner. It’s a little more nuanced than that, as Raymond Ibrahim explains:

Some clarifications for context: Islam’s black flag with the shehada and sword inscription is not an al-Qaeda banner but rather Islam’s most ancient banner, popularized by the Abbasid caliphs in the 800s. In other words, these protesters were not imitating al-Qaeda; rather they—and al-Qaeda—are imitating Islam’s heritage, replete with jihad against the infidel. Same with the phrase “worshippers of the cross”—Islam’s ancient appellation for the hated Christians.

Read the whole thing. As Ibrahim explains, Muslim outrage over their hurt feelings is especially hypocritical, given the wretched and often murderous discrimination against Copts in Egypt.

RELATED III: Governor Romney and President Obama both held press availabilities on the North African crisis. For what it’s worth, I think Romney said the right things and acted like a president should act. He also wouldn’t let the press get away with trying to cover for Obama by presenting Romney’s criticisms as the problem, not the events in Egypt and Libya. President Obama, on the other hand, took no questions and voted “present.” Again. For those who criticize Romney and say “politics should stop at the water’s edge,” I reply “forget it.” The Democrats haven’t played by those rules in years, and we shouldn’t unilaterally disarm.

RELATED IV: Sarah Palin unleashes her night stick on Obama. Boom! You don’t want to miss it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


9/11: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the duties of a president

September 11, 2012

Today is the eleventh anniversary of al Qaeda’s attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, in which Muslims waging jihad fi sabil Allah –war for the sake of Allah– killed nearly 3,000 Americans and foreign guests.

On that day, the federal government failed in its primary duty: protecting the United States and her people.

Since then, one would like to believe the men in the Oval Office have taken that duty, assigned to them by the Constitution as Commander in Chief, damned seriously; that they would bend every effort to making sure it never happened again.

We know that was true of George W. Bush. He not only ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to destroy the regime that sheltered al Qaeda, but he received bipartisan congressional approval for the liberation of Iraq (rightly perceiving Saddam’s monstrous regime as a strategic threat that couldn’t be allowed to continue) and he set in motion the intelligence operations that eventually lead to Osama bin Laden’s death under Barack Obama.

Agree or disagree with what he did, there’s no doubt George W. Bush took to heart the national security of the United States.

But, after reading Marc Thiessen’s column in the Washington Post, can we same thing about Barack Obama when he skips out on half of his national security briefings?

President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

Thiessen questioned a NSC official, who argued that attending the meetings isn’t important and that Obama learns what he needs to know from reading the daily briefings, which he receives wherever he is.  Other “former officials” (Bush administration?) disagreed, saying it’s very important for the president to attend these briefings, so that he can clarify his own understanding, question assumptions, and let his advisers know what he thinks is important. The interchange is a vital part of the process leading to national security decisions.

And before anyone can say “Well, he’s got a lot on his plate,” Thiessen relates how Obama’s predecessor handled his briefings:

While the Bush records are not yet available electronically for analysis, officials tell me the former president held his intelligence meeting six days a week, no exceptions — usually with the vice president, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, or their deputies, and CIA briefers in attendance. Once a week, he held an expanded Homeland Security briefing that included the Homeland Security adviser, the FBI director and other homeland security officials. Bush also did more than 100 hour-long “deep dives” in which he invited intelligence analysts into the Oval Office to get their unvarnished and sometimes differing views. Such meetings deepened the president’s understanding of the issues and helped analysts better understand the problems with which he was wrestling.

(Emphases added)

That schedule included President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. When he was on the campaign trail, they were probably held by secure conference call. He always made time, always put his duty ahead of his campaign.

In 2012, we’re still at war. The jihad didn’t end when SEAL Team 6 put a couple of bullets into Osama. While al Qaeda has seemingly been savaged to the point that they cannot launch catastrophic attacks against us (we hope), they and other jihad groups haven’t given up trying.

They’re still trying to kill us.

And yet President Obama thinks it’s sufficient to read the morning memo and get on to other things.  Not only does he pass on face to face briefings, but his Defense Secretary all but admitted that the President himself (1) authorized the recent national security leaks. There’s only one real conclusion to take from this:

The current President of the United States does not have as his first priority the security of the United States.

Remember that when you vote on November 6th.

via Bryan Preston and NRO

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because I want a Commander in Chief, not a campaigner in chief.

Footnote:
1) As he is allowed to do under law, so there’s no criminal violation. Because it’s legal doesn’t make it right, smart, or ethical, though.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Arguments against the President “Valerie, may I?” story

July 31, 2012

Yesterday I posted an article about the assertion in a forthcoming book by journalist Richard Miniter that President Obama let himself be talked out of the bin Laden assassination mission three times, before finally okaying it, by long-time close adviser Valerie Jarrett, a corrupt slum-lord. Now that I’ve had 24 hours to calm down (1), there are reasonable arguments for questioning the story. I’ll present them here and let you decide:

Anonymous sources: Miniter cites “an unnamed source with Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.” The trouble with an unnamed source is that you have no way of verifying what the source is saying, because you don’t know who he or she is. You have to take the intermediary’s word (in this case, Miniter’s) that the source is credible, telling the truth.

What if the anonymous source was really in no place to know the things he claims? What if he’s making it all up to inflate his own importance? What if he observed things, but misinterpreted them? What if Miniter’s source and Ulsterman’s are one in the same? Then, instead of Miniter confirming the earlier piece, he’s merely repeating the same uncorroborated gossip. And (candy for the conspiracy buffs out there) what if the whole story is a Republican plant meant to embarrass Obama? It wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened in American politics, that is, the press being used to bring down an opponent. From the reasonable to the wild, all these doubts show why we should be very careful of “anonymous insiders.”

In the end, it was his call, after all: The story paints a picture of Obama as indecisive, weak. As I put it, he ran to his political nursemaid to ask if launching the raid was a good idea, and she told him “no.”

But there’s another way to look at it. Obama is naturally cautious and diffident when faced with having to make a real decision, and invading the territory of an ally unannounced was darned risky — an act of war, without a doubt. And he is entitled to ask advice of anyone he chooses. Perhaps he felt the intel wasn’t solid enough and Jarrett’s arguments were enough to convince him of “not yet.” In other words, he sought advice, not permission. And he did, in the end, make the final decision to go.

Finally, Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot makes the following argument:

Put another way: apparently Valerie Jarrett made enemies like Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs at times. You don’t think guys like that would leak something like that if they knew, in an effort to undermine her influence?

Point taken.

(Geraghty also makes a political observation we should keep in mind: the Obama administration would love to argue about Osama’s death from now until election day, because the discussion always ends with “and then we got him.”)

For what it’s worth, the White House has denied and denounced the report, while Miniter has dared them to prove him wrong:

The author of a new book describing presidential paralysis prior to the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout is demanding the White House back up its vehement denials with documentation.

“I call on them to release the full [planning] timeline, starting in October 2010, of each of the major decisions that the president made relating to the bin Laden mission,” author Richard Miniter told The Daily Caller.

TheDC asked Miniter if his inside sources might go public with their accounts of presidential indecision. “Yes, yes,” he replied. “There is a chance.”

(via Nice Deb)

I hope the source does go public, since we, then, will be in a better position to make our own judgement. October surprise, anyone?

So, what do I think? At this point, I think it’s more likely true than not. Not because of Miniter’s or Ulsterman’s source(s), about whom we know nothing, but because it seems to fit with Obama and his long relationship with Jarrett. She has been a close patron and key counselor for Barack and Michelle Obama for many, many years. Close enough that the account in “Leading from Behind” is, I suspect, closer to the truth than not.

We’ll see.

Footnote:
(1) I freely and cheerily admit to having a “hot button” about 9/11, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and a president’s proper response. Said response being “Hunt them down like rabid dogs and kill every last one of them!” And I get angry at any hint of softness on this issue. I doubt I’ll ever change.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) “Heroes don’t spike the football.”

May 2, 2012

Whoa. That sound you heard was Obama getting slapped in the face by this:

That’ll leave a mark.

Since we’re using football analogies, what this reminds me of is Terrell Owens’ classless celebration on the Cowboys’ midfield star, and Emmitt Smith’s lesson to him why that was a bad idea.

PS: Ever get the feeling President Short Pants has lost 99.99% of the “military and their families” vote?

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


We did the right thing

March 20, 2012

Nine years ago today, the United States invaded Iraq at the head of a coalition including Great Britain, Australia, Poland, and other nations with the goal of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein and, perhaps, healing the poisoned tree of Arab Middle East politics by helping foster the growth of a stable democracy in the heart of the Islamic world.

Two goals born of the danger inherent in the status quo that was revealed to us one horrible morning in September, 2001.

One was brilliantly achieved: after the usual predictions from the Left and the MSM (but I repeat myself) of stalemate and a bloodbath, Coalition forces rolled over Saddam armies in a matter of weeks and liberated (1) the people of that country from one of the worst, most brutal tyrannies of the late 20th century. (For just one example) One of the enduring images in my mind from the Battle of Baghdad is this one, from Firdos Square just before Saddam’s statue was torn down:

(That’s Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch, USMC (ret), btw, who later lost an eye at the First Battle of Fallujah. He’s running for Congress against Democrat incumbent Susan Davis in California’s 53rd district. His campaign site is here. Go, now, and donate.)

The question ever since (and from the fringe Left, even before) has been “Was this the right thing to do?”

I argued then that it was and, to this day, I do.

It’s my belief that the commitment of American military force to any major combat operation (absent a direct attack on the United States) requires a convergence of the strategic and moral imperatives that have shaped American foreign policy for centuries. In Iraq, those interests came together — see, for example, Pollack’s “The Threatening Storm” (pre-war) and Feith’s “War and Decision” (post-war). See also this excellent article in Australia’s National Observer, which asked last year “Will Bush Be Vindicated?” The whole article is worth your time, but let me quote the portion about the international consensus among intelligence agencies about Iraq at that time:

Pre-war intelligence consensus

The pre-war intelligence consensus concerning Iraqi WMD extended beyond both sides of the political divide in Congress. It reached the external intelligence agencies of the world’s six major or regional powers. All of these agencies had come to similar, and mostly independent, conclusions about the presence of WMDs and Saddam’s propensity to use them.

  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — United States.
  • Security Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) — United Kingdom.
  • Mossad — Israel.
  • Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) — Germany.
  • Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) — France.
  • Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (SVR) — Russia.

This is the German BND’s intelligence summary:[13]

 “Iraq has resumed its nuclear program and may be capable of producing an atomic bomb in three years;

Iraq is developing its Al Samoud and Ababil 100/Al Fatah short-range rockets, which can deliver a 300kg payload 150km. Medium-range rockets capable of carrying a warhead 3,000km could be built by 2005 — far enough to reach Europe;

Iraq is capable of manufacturing solid rocket fuel;

A Delhi-based company has acted as a buyer on Iraq’s behalf. Deliveries have been made via Malaysia and Dubai. Indian companies have copied German machine tools down to the smallest detail and such equipment has been installed in numerous chemicals projects.

Since the departure of the UN inspectors, the number of Iraqi sites involved in chemicals production has increased from 20 to 80. Of that total, a quarter could be involved in weapons production.”

Regarding Britain: after it became apparent that there were no discoverable WMDs in Iraq, the British House of Commons Intelligence Services Committee (ISC) conducted a thorough investigation into the failures of British intelligence to predict accurately the true state of Iraq’s situation. It is significant that this committee and the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee concluded, along with Lord Hutton’s independent inquiry, that no undue or inappropriate pressure was brought to bear upon the Joint Intelligence Chiefs (JIC) to shape their assessments according to a particular, pre-existing policy construct. Such a finding was contrary to persistent media reports, and to the repeated claims of opponents of Tony Blair’s position.

This is a key quote from the September 2003 House of Commons ISC report on its investigation into the JIC’s Iraq Assessment:[14]

“It was clear to all that Saddam Hussein was defying the international community, ignoring UNSCRs, breaking embargoes and engaging in an extensive programme of concealment. Based on the intelligence and the JIC assessments that we have seen, we accept that there was convincing intelligence that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear programmes and the capability to produce chemical and biological weapons. Iraq was also continuing to develop ballistic missiles. All these activities were prohibited under UNSCRs.”

I put it to you that no President of the United States (2) could look at the intelligence he was receiving, which was supported by other services, and not be lead to the conclusion that liberating Iraq was very much in our interests — especially so soon after the catastrophe of September 11th.

(Fair and balanced: an alternate view from the UK’s Guardian paper.)

Regardless of what happened since and the uncertainties of the future — the poorly run occupation, the incorrect early counterinsurgency strategy, the Left’s revision of history and the Democrats’ subordination of the national interests to their party’s political goals, Obama’s decision to put all our gains at risk by pulling out too soon, the very real risk of Iraqi backsliding in our absence, and the possible failure of our second goal, fostering constitutional government in the Arab Middle East — in spite of all that, I believe George W. Bush made the right choice when he gave the order to liberate Iraq.

I still do.

Footnotes:
(1) Yes, “liberated.” Setting oppressed people free. That’s exactly what we did. It’s been a specialty of the United States military since, oh, 1775. We’re really quite good at it.
(2) Okay, okay. No adult, mature, non-callow president.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2011

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Ten years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, the last surviving Medal of Honor winner from Pearl Harbor.

NOTE: This is a republishing of a post I put up each December 7th.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: What we did right in Afghanistan and Iraq, and my qualified disagreement

September 16, 2011

Bill Whittle returns with another episode of Afterburner, this time with his own retrospective on the ten years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. In it, he looks at what has happened since in Afghanistan, Iraq, and America and looks at the things we got right, a needed corrective to the constant drumbeat of failure played for us by the MSM:

I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with Bill. We did indeed liberate over 60,000,000 people from two of the worst tyrannies on Earth, and we did indeed maul Al Qaeda, killing thousands of fighters who might otherwise have found there way to America or Europe. The removal of Saddam’s regime ended a serious strategic threat that would surely have returned once the sanctions regime had finally failed (which it was already doing).  And Iraq has a realistic chance to establish the first genuine Arab representative, constitutional democracy, though Obama is endangering that by pulling out too fast and too soon. And we have been very successful at preventing further catastrophic attacks against us.

None of that is to be dismissed lightly.

But I can’t wholly agree with Whittle. While he’s right that the fall of Saddam and it’s replacement with a democratic regime (albeit flawed) inspired the recent Arab revolts against dictators, much as the French Revolution inspired the liberal rebellions in Europe in 1848, I’m much less sanguine than Bill about the prospects for those revolts. Unlike mid-19th century Europe, the Arab “liberal class” (1) is small and likely to be overwhelmed by Islamist factions, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied Salafi groups in Egypt or the Islamists among the rebels in Libya. I can more easily see this “Arab Spring” turning into a bloody winter.

And while I too take great joy from the killing of bin Laden, unlike Bill (and assuming I’m not misunderstanding him), I don’t see this as the end of anything, except perhaps the end of the beginning. Al Qaeda “central” may be broken and reduced in influence, but it has dangerous franchises around the globe. And beyond Al Qaeda, the broader jihadist movement, one of the keystones of which is Iran, remains a menacing, perhaps even existential threat.

So, yes, while we’ve ravaged Al Qaeda, the struggle with the problem of jihad and the conflict created by the matter/antimatter incompatibility of Western liberalism and Islamic Sharia remain.

RELATED: Commentary’s Abe Greenwald on “What We Got Right in the War on Terror.”

Footnote:
(1) “Liberal” as in the constitutionalist, limited government and free market philosophy that evolved from the 17th-19th centuries, not the progressivism that hijacked the word “liberal” in the 1930s.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Such classy people — not

September 12, 2011

As part of yesterday’s observance of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th atrocities, the US Embassy in London held its own services. Also present were a group of Muslims who held their own commemoration:

A small group of Islamist demonstrators staged a protest outside the US embassy in London Sunday during a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Around 50 people brandished anti-US banners, chanted slogans and burnt a small piece of paper with a picture of the US flag on it, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Britain’s Press Association news agency reported that the protesters were from a group called Muslims Against Crusades.

They were there to disrupt a moment of silence scheduled for the time that the first plane struck the World Trade Center. When these religious fascists started their fire, the police formed a line to keep them away. Regrettably, no police dogs were loosed on these jerks.

Such classy people.

via Big Government

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2011

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for last year’s anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


9/11 ten years later: they’re still trying to kill us

September 10, 2011

With the tenth anniversary of the September 11th atrocities coming tomorrow, there’s reasonable fear that Al Qaeda could attempt an attack in New York or elsewhere in the US for their own “celebrations.”

But don’t think they or other jihadist groups have been quiet in the meantime, just waiting for an anniversary to strike us. Far from it, for they see it as their religious duty to attack us. As this chart from the Heritage Foundation shows, there have been at least 40 domestic terror plotsan average of four per year– foiled since September 11th, 2001:

(Click the image  for a larger vesion.)

Never forget, and always be on guard. They’re still trying to kill us.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


9/11 ten years later: F-16 pilots were ready to ram Flight 93

September 9, 2011

All I can say is… wow:

As remarkable as it seems now, there were no armed aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington. Before that morning, all eyes were looking outward, still scanning the old Cold War threat paths for planes and missiles coming over the polar ice cap.

“There was no perceived threat at the time, especially one coming from the homeland like that,” says Col. George Degnon, vice commander of the 113th Wing at Andrews. “It was a little bit of a helpless feeling, but we did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft armed and in the air. It was amazing to see people react.”

Things are different today, ­Degnon says. At least two “hot-cocked” planes are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the cockpit.

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.

“Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.

They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.

“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.

She replied without hesitating.

“I’ll take the tail.”

It was a plan. And a pact.

I’ll point out that “Lucky” was Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, one of America’s first female combat pilots. She was later part of the fighter escort that guarded Air Force One when Bush returned to Washington. This article is one of the first interviews she’s given since that day.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson has often written of the selfless valor and determination of the free citizen-soldier of a republic, as opposed to the slaves of kings and dictators; the pact made by Col. Sasseville and Lt. Penney on September 11th, 2001, is yet another example

No more commentary is necessary. Just read the whole thing.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Missed opportunities: tapping the Taliban’s lines before 9/11

August 8, 2011

Here’s a bombshell from late last week that was lost in all the brouhaha over the debt agreement and S&P’s downgrade of US debt. In the last years of the Clinton administration and the early months of Bush’s, we had a golden chance to tap Afghanistan’s cell-phone networks, probably including their communications with their al Qaeda guests, because we would have built it for them:

Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose reveals for the first time that in 1999 the Taliban had granted license to an American company, Afghan Wireless Communications, to construct a cell-phone, and, Internet system in Afghanistan. Had the secret deal, named Operation Foxden, been completed, the U.S. would have had complete access to al-Qaeda and Taliban calls and e-mails in a matter of months. “The capability we would have had would have been very good,” a former N.S.A. official tells Rose. “Had this network been built with the technology that existed in 2000, it would have been a priceless intelligence asset.” But, as Rose reports, “at the critical moment, the Clinton administration put the project on hold, while rival U.S. agencies—the F.B.I., the N.S.A., and the C.I.A.—bickered over who should control it.” This “was one tool we could have put in Afghanistan that could have made a difference,” says a former C.I.A. official. “Why didn’t we put it in? 

Click through for the rather “colorful” answer.

The upshot is that a businessman who both had excellent relations with the Taliban and was an FBI source had secured a contract to build a wireless network for Afghanistan, and with the components added by US intelligence, we would have had unparalleled access to their cellular and satellite calls, with the operations run out of Fort Meade. Sweet, right? With this kind of access, we might well have leaned about 9/11 in time to stop it.

So what went wrong?

As the article makes clear, the program fell victim to both inter- and intra-agency bureaucratic chest-thumping, including an effort to squeeze out the British (Some British investors were involved, and they presumably had MI-6 backing.) because everyone was fighting over who would control it.

On top of that, the Clinton administration had issued an executive order prohibiting Americans from doing business in Afghanistan, a development that affected the FBI “asset” who had signed the contract. I find it mind-boggling that, as far as I can tell, Clinton a) apparently had no idea of a major intelligence operation against our avowed enemies and that b) no one went to him to argue or could convince him that a quiet exception needed to be made in this case.

Seriously. Did no one tell the President of the United States? 

This reminds me of the various bureaucratic frictions so amply documented in the 9/11 commission’s report, including the infamous Gorelick wall against intelligence sharing. Hidebound bureaucracy was one of our weakest links leading up to 9/11, and this news is another big example.

via Eli Lake

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: mythbusting Bush, bin Laden, and Obama

May 13, 2011

Ideas that seem to rise from nowhere and take on a life of their own are often called “memes.” They’re those things that “everyone knows,” but they often fall apart when looked at critically. Anthropogenic global warming is one such false meme, but that’s not the topic for today.

Instead, Bill Whittle looks at several memes associated with the The Long War(1) –“mission accomplished,” and “Iraq was a distraction,” among others– and then smashes them to bits with the Hammer of Facts:

It’s like a current-affairs version of MythBusters.

There’s an old saying that, while we are entitled to our own beliefs, we are not entitled to our own facts, and Bill does a great job using fact to skewer false belief.

(1) My preferred name for this conflict, or maybe “Jihadi War.” “War on Terror” just never sounded accurate.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Things that make me feel oh-so-secure

February 2, 2011

Several items fall under this category, today, but let’s start with the best, first: a previously unknown al Qaeda cell in Los Angeles, just before 9-11.

The FBI has launched a manhunt for a previously unknown team of men suspected to be part of the 9/11 attacks, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Secret documents reveal that the three Qatari men conducted surveillance on the targets, provided “support” to the plotters and had tickets for a flight to Washington on the eve of the atrocities.

The suspected terrorists flew from London to New York on a British Airways flight three weeks before the attacks.

They allegedly carried out surveillance at the World Trade Centre, the White House and in Virginia, the US state where the Pentagon and CIA headquarters are located.

Ten days later they flew to Los Angeles, where they stationed themselves in a hotel near the airport which the FBI has now established was paid for by a “convicted terrorist”, who also paid for their airline tickets.

Hotel staff have told investigators they saw pilot uniforms in their room along with computer print outs detailing pilot names, flight numbers and times and packages addressed to Syria, Afghanistan, Jerusalem and Jordan.

On September 10 they were booked on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Washington, but failed to board. The following day the same Boeing 757 aircraft was hijacked by five terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.

But, instead of boarding the American flight, the Qatari suspects – named as Meshal Alhajri, Fahad Abdulla and Ali Alfehaid – flew back to London on a British Airways flight before returning to Qatar. Their current location is unknown.

via The Jawa Report.

It’s not known whether these medieval lunatics jihadis were a fifth hijacking crew (remember that my city was the target of a planned second wave — oh, which we learned about thanks only to waterboarding), a backup crew that was pulled out when the cell that attacked the Pentagon confirmed as “ready,”  or “just” an operational support team. What is genuinely disturbing is the article’s implication that, if I understand it right, we didn’t know about these guys except in a very vague way until recently.

Which begs the question: Who else don’t we know about??

Then there’s another revelation from the gift that keeps on giving, Wikileaks. This time, it’s the news that al Qaeda is on the verge of having a dirty bomb, among other fun toys:

Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11″.

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of “dirty radioactive IEDs”, makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.

As well as causing a large explosion, a “dirty bomb” attack would contaminate the area for many years.

Note to the Vancouver Sun headline writer: there is a huge difference between a “nuclear bomb” and a “dirty bomb.” Scale, for one thing. A true H-bomb wreaks much of its destruction through blast and heat; the fallout is just apocalyptic gravy. The explosive force of a dirty bomb is much smaller — it’s meant to scatter radioactive material over an area, rendering it unusable. But that also makes it a perfect terror-weapon. (Wired has a good article on dirty bombs.) Accuracy, please.

Still, isn’t it comforting to know al Qaeda is close to having one?

via Allahpundit, who in his typical fashion reminds us there are plenty of Pakistani jihadist groups that would want a dirty bomb or two, as well as a Pakistani intelligence service that might be willing to supply them. Charming.

Other reassuring items:

Maybe border-security hawks have a point:

U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California inside the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents.

Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden inside a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents near an Indian casino east of San Diego. Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a “safe place anywhere in the U.S.”

The arrest marks the unexpected resurfacing of the 43-year-old cleric, whose protracted legal battle to avoid deportation drew headlines in Canada. A Tunisian immigrant, Jaziri was deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s.

But Jaziri’s supporters said he was targeted for his fundamentalist views: Jaziri backed Sharia law for Canadian Muslims and led protests over the publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

via Fausta. But… But… But I thought anyone demanding better border control was a racist …er, I mean a RAAAAACIST!! This doesn’t fit the narrative… Help me, Luis Gutierrez!!

And if that isn’t enough, through Jihad Watch we learn:

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert

EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, “In Memory of Our Martyrs,” was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, “The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments.” Each biographical page contains “the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died.”

Agents also say that the book appears to have been exposed to weather in the desert “for at least several days or weeks.”

Litterbug. He probably mislaid his dirty bomb, too.

So, you see? We can all relax, safe and content. President Barack “We don’t need no steenkin’ fence”  Obama, Attorney General Eric “Civilian trials for terrorists”  Holder and Homeland Security Director Janet “The system worked” Napolitano are surely on top of things.

If you need me, I’ll be in my bunker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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