The Russo-Ukrainian War

August 31, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Our “We don’t have a strategy yet” leadership in DC has left the initiative to Vladimir Putin, who has exploited it to the hilt and is now settled on a revanchist war in Ukraine. Mr. Schindler is right: if NATO means anything anymore, it must respond to this with something more than sanctions.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

This week Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine became overt for all the world to see. Since February, Moscow waged a semi-covert campaign that I term Special War, with the initial aim of taking Crimea. This succeeded almost bloodlessly thanks to confusion in Kyiv. Over the past six months, inspired by Crimean success, Russian strategy has focused on creating and preserving Kremlin-controlled pseudo-states, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” which are in fact subsidiaries of Russian intelligence.

This, however, is a far more ambitious goal than the Crimean operation, and resistance has mounted. In recent weeks, Ukrainian efforts to retake territory around Donetsk and Luhansk in what Kyiv calls the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) have gained momentum, and this week Moscow sent troops across the border more or less openly since the alternative is the defeat and collapse of its proxies in southeast Ukraine. That Putin will not allow, and…

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In which President Obama channels King Ethelred the Unready

August 29, 2014
King Ethelred the Unready

King Ethelred the Unready

An archaeologist friend once told me that the nickname for King Ethelred II of England, “the Unready,” loosely translated from the original Old English as “Ethelred the Without a Clue.”

Yesterday President Obama, constitutionally charged with the conduct of our foreign affairs and responsible for dealing with threats our people, admitted in a question dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) that he, too, was without a clue:

(via Moe Lane)

Here’s Obama’s full statement, provided by CBS journalist Mark Knoller:

QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?

OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in and we’re — that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military, as well. We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.

But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.

In other words,

“In my haste to bug out of Iraq before it was ready to stand on its own, so I could really get down to gutting America’s military capabilities, we never considered the possibility that this group we’ve known about for the last two years could actually become a threat. My administration was totally caught with its pants down and we’ve have no idea whatsoever of what to do. But I’ll blather a lot to make it look like we’re doing something. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for tee-time.”

Mr. President, sir… Dude, we need to have a talk.

To mangle a phrase, “You had two jobs!” The first is to see that the laws passed by Congress are faithfully executed. We already know you don’t like to do that. The other is to see to the United States’ foreign national security interests in your role as commander in chief. We all know you don’t like that one, either. (Believe me, it shows.) You’re rotten at both.

But you’re still the president until January, 2017, and you could at least not make things worse. In other words, sir… (clears throat)…

YOU DON’T TELL THE ENEMY THAT YOU HAVE NO EFFING IDEA WHAT TO DO!!!

Pardon me for yelling.

ISIS is the enemy. They, like their progenitors in al Qaeda, have declared war on us, and they are noting everything you do or say, because they know you could squash them like the bugs they are — if you ever decided to do so. They have to take a possible American reaction into account, and that cognizance of a threat from us might restrain them, if even only a little bit.

Instead, you have just told them they have a free pass because the only thing you can think of is to stand there and, in effect, say “I dunno. What do you want to do?”

You had months and even years to come up with some plan for dealing with a resurgent jihadism in Iraq, and yet you did nothing. We left, Syria fell apart, then Iraq fell apart, and then maniacs carved off the head of an American, and…

You did nothing. You did nothing except issue meaningless statements and declare red lines that were nothing more than mirages, and now you’ve admitted to the world –including our enemies– that you don’t take threats to our interests seriously enough to bother coming up with plans before those threats explode.

Well, sir, you’re president for the next two years and five months, and you had better get your head in the game, because our enemies are coming for ours, figuratively and literally.

At the very least, don’t open your mouth and remove all doubt that you’re “Barack the Unready.”

 


(Video) Andrew Klavan on “Democrats at war”

August 24, 2014

In today’s episode of The Revolting Truth, Andrew treats us to some counter-revisionist history, to correct the Democrats’… “fanciful narrative” about their role in the Iraq war:

For the record, I doubt I’ll ever forgive Senator Harry Ried (D-Snake In The Grass) for proclaiming to the world that the war was lost, just as American forces are entering the field for a crucial battle.

Also, Gollum has a better personality.


(War Porn) ISIS armed truck goes BOOM!

August 22, 2014

More of this, please. A lot more.

Because, based on the First Rule of Texas Common Law, these guys need killing.


(Video) Can’t say I disagree with Ralph Peters on how to handle #ISIS

August 21, 2014

By George, I think he’s got it!

I do wish he wouldn’t be so shy with his opinions, though. smiley thumbs up


Okay, which one of you guys bombed Libya?

August 19, 2014

map libya

And how come I wasn’t invited?

Reports The New York Times:

Unidentified warplanes on Monday bombed a small arms depot and other locations in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that are controlled by Islamist-aligned militias, suggesting that a foreign state had intervened in the escalating battle for control of the city.

At least six people were killed, The Associated Press reported. The origin of the planes remained a mystery.

The airstrikes were beyond the capacity of the limited Libyan Air Force, and Libyan authorities said the planes had come from a foreign state. The United States, France, Italy and Egypt all denied responsibility.

“The United States was not involved whatsoever in these events,” said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.

But the targets indicated the intent of the strikes. Although the month-old conflict in Tripoli is largely a contest for power between rival coalitions of cities and tribes, one side is considered to be allied with the forces of political Islam, while the other portrays itself as fighting an Islamist takeover. The strikes on Monday all hit the Islamist side.

Frankly, it could have been anyone, because almost everyone has reason to drop ordnance on these refugees from a medieval lunatic asylum: the US might be trying to support its clients in the rump Libyan government; the Europeans might have gotten word about a planned terrorist strike in their countries; the Egyptians  might have learned that high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood were hiding in the area. There are any number of possible reasons, and every single one of the actors named would of course deny doing it.

But I’m really curious to know who did. And why.

via Legal Insurrection


Iraq: Is Obama holding American citizens “hostage” to force Democrat support?

August 12, 2014
Liar.

Barack Machiavelli?

That’s the startling, even shocking implication of an article in today’s Free Beacon: that the President of the United States is refusing to evacuate American civilian personnel from Iraq, in spite of the crisis caused by the advance of ISIS, because he needs the threat to them to convince his left-wing base to go along with the air strikes underway:

The administration’s decision to bypass Congress before taking military action is reminiscent of its behavior in Libya, where air strikes also were authorized without congressional approval.

“They didn’t provide any firm answers or decisions,” said one senior Senate source apprised of the briefing. “The administration is saying that they’re going to authorize air strikes if ISIS gets close to U.S. personal or stationed personal, which in [our] mind, if there is a threat in the region you get your people out unless they’re military.”

This rationale from the White House is leading some to speculate that U.S. personnel in the region are being left in harms way “as collateral” because the Obama administration “can’t get his party and donor base to support further action in Iraq,” according to the source.

“That’s where a lot of the confusion is coming from” on Capitol Hill, the source added. “When there’s an imminent threat you get your civilian employees out of the region.”

As Noah Rothman at Hot Air points out, the administration is in a difficult spot with its legal justifications for action in Iraq: they’ve argued since the American withdrawal from Iraq that the Bush-era AUMF is outdated and should be repealed, so it’s very difficult to use that as a justification for new action. Instead, they’re using “danger to Americans” as the casus belli:

The White House appears to be claiming simply that the president has the constitutional authority to protect and defend American citizens, and he is legally empowered to execute strikes on ISIS targets if they present an immediate threat to U.S. interests or personnel. American military officials are, however, apparently prepared to interpret that which constitutes an “immediate threat” in a loose fashion.

And that, in turn has lead some to wonder if those personnel are being used as –and there’s no better word for it– hostages. I can almost see the pitch: “Look, we both agree that the Iraq War was stupid and wrong, but we can’t do nothing. You don’t want us to abandon Americans in danger, do you? The Republicans would have a field day with that. Remember how they reacted after Benghazi?”

It’s something so ruthless, so coldblooded, that I don’t want to believe it could be true of any American administration. Bear in mind also that the Free Beacon’s source is anonymous. And yet, on the other hand, the administration has taken such a hit over its failures in foreign policy, especially in the Mideast in the last two years, that some top adviser (Axelrod? Jarrett?) may have convinced the president he can do this to make sure he isn’t seen as the one who “lost Iraq” (newsflash: too late), that he can use the presence of Americans as leverage against a rebellion by his base without too much risk. If there’s one place this generally incompetent administration has shown any competence at all, its in “base politics.”

And, if true, this would be pretty base.


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