Leading from behind will lose us Iraq

April 30, 2013

This is potentially very bad:

After a week of violence in Iraq in which more than 170 Iraqis, including tribesmen, soldiers, and policemen have been killed in clashes during Sunni protests in Salahuddin province, the Awakening is preparing to take up arms against the Iraqi government. On April 24, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, the head of the Awakening, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that “from Fallujah to Al Qaim” the tribes are coordinating and “united” to battle the government if need be.

For those who don’t recall, the “Anbar Awakening” was an alliance of mostly Sunni tribes in western Iraq, which aligned itself with the US military starting around 2006 after having had enough of the atrocities committed against them by al Qaeda in Iraq. (1) To say they were crucial to our victory during the surge would be no less than the truth.  Without the Awakening, we don’t benefit from pacified areas that allow us to concentrate against al Qaeda and the Shiite militias, and we don’t have the eyes and ears of locals who know the situation on the ground far better than we do.

In return, we acted as interlocutors between the local tribes and the new, mostly Shiite national government, mediating the frictions caused by, literally, centuries of bad blood between the two sects. In the politics of Iraq, our military was essential to keeping the peace the surge won, not just because of our military power, but because we were the only group both sides trusted. If an American officer said something would get done, it would get done — and done honestly. It is almost impossible to put a value on the worth of that trust.

But now, with the Americans gone after Obama’s half-hearted, bungling efforts to negotiate a status of forces agreement, all that is in danger of falling apart as the groups revert to old habits and the Syrian civil war draws them in:

Without military forces in country, the US has been unable to support the Iraqi government in its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda in Iraq, or to serve as a buffer and broker between Iraq’s ethnic groups. The US has also diplomatically abandoned the Sunni tribes in Anbar and other provinces, despite promises to remain engaged with the Awakening after the pivotal alliance that drastically improved Iraq’s security from 2006 to 2008.

(…)

Without US forces, al Qaeda in Iraq gained the time and space to regroup and rebuild, and has established a potent fighting force inside Syria as the Al Nusrah Front (al Qaeda’s affiliate there). Continued access to the tribes would have pressed the advantage against a previously decimated al Qaeda in Iraq and could have given the US a foothold to support non-Salafi jihadist rebels inside Syria as well (the tribes in western Iraq extend into Syria).

I said when we liberated Iraq that we had to be prepared to be there for 50 years, using our soldiers and our diplomacy as a shield while Iraq developed the habits of constitutional government and a healthy civil society, much like we did with South Korea. It wasn’t guaranteed to work, but I believe it had a good chance. Now we may never know, however, for if the tribes do revolt and the Syrian civil war does spread into Iraq –with inevitable Iranian involvement– then Barack Obama’s “Diffidence Doctrine” will have succeeded in taking all the blood and treasure we spent there and flushing it down a toilet.

Excuse me while I go find a wall to bang my head against.

Footnote:
(1) Such as killing their children, then hiding explosives under the bodies so the parents would be killed when they tried to recover their children’s corpses. If any group ever needed killing…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Al Gore: “Forget war and rumors of war! What about Gaea???”

April 30, 2013
The Goracle, Chief Priest of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming

“Thou blaspheme by omission!”

President Obama had a press conference yesterday (which is a story of its own) in which he talked about war, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and gay NBA players, but the High Priest of the Church of Global Warming, the Goracle himself, was not amused:

Tisk, tisk. Obama failed to acknowledge the grave threat from the hideous Demon of Man-Caused Climate Change, and so suffered a proper rebuke.

Kind of amusing, really. A narcissistic, supremely cynical, unqualified-for-the-job president being called on the carpet by a narcissistic, hypocritical con-artist who’s desperately fighting his own increasing irrelevance by demanding solutions to a problem that does not exist, but which is more important than all the many real problems facing the world. (1)

Locking these two in a room with each other might make for a good reality series.

via Bridget Johnson

Footnote:
(1) Except for gay NBA players, of course.

PS: Actually, it’s more like Pope Al is criticizing the journalists, but I’m sure he’s miffed at Obama for not bringing it up himself, as he did Jason Collins.


This just in: Global Warming will turn women into prostitutes

April 29, 2013

Because there is nothing the Evil Demon of Climate Change cannot do! So speaketh Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of (I’m sorry to say) California (1) :

Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival.

The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.

“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.

Climate change could also add “workload and stresses” on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.

The Demon Climate Change will also bring an increased risk of war and refugee migration, according to Lee’s resolution. Really, in the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming, this thing is more powerful than the Four Horsemen combined. No wonder they’re screaming “DOOM!!” at the top of their lungs.

Well, that and the fact that they lust after the tax money and power all the new anti-global warming regulations and legislation will give them. A “crisis” like this is just made for a statism-on-steroids solution.

But I’m just a cynic.

And Barbara Lee is an idiot.

But take a look at what she’s pushing: fear, not facts. Coulds, maybes, mights, but no science. This is what you do when the science is increasingly not on your side –for example, the troublesome fact that there has been no statistically significant warming since the mid-90s– you have to resort to scare tactics and various forms of baiting and then plead a crisis. This is all the Left has (in this case, Watermelons, the environmental Left), whether it’s climate change, the right to bear arms, or economics.

“Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams, which is why the Left tries desperately to ignore them.

via Moe Lane

Footnote:
(1) However she was duly elected, so she arguably represents the views of California CD-32, which, you’ll be shocked to read, includes Berkeley.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Russian Scientists say period of global cooling ahead due to changes in the sun

April 29, 2013

I’m not going to run out and buy a parka just yet, but the idea of extended cooling based on solar activity makes much more sense to me than a catastrophic heat rise based on CO2. At least for the sun’s effects, there is a demonstrable historical correlation. Not that it’s proven (yet), but there’s more evidence for solar-induced climate cycles than for anthropogenic global warming.

Watts Up With That?

From Radio Voice of Russia:

Russia’s Pulkovo Observatory: “we could be in for a cooling period that lasts 200-250 years”

Scientists at Russia’s famous Pulkovo Observatory are convinced that the world is in for a period of global cooling.

archibald_1749_2049_projected_solar_cycle

Graph by David Archibald

Global warming which has been the subject of so many discussions in recent years, may give way to global cooling. According to scientists from the Pulkovo Observatory in St.Petersburg, solar activity is waning, so the average yearly temperature will begin to decline as well. Scientists from Britain and the US chime in saying that forecasts for global cooling are far from groundless. Some experts warn that a change in the climate may affect the ambitious projects for the exploration of the Arctic that have been launched by many countries.

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Boston Marathon bombing: third bomber suspected?

April 27, 2013

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge breaks the story:

Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports that the bombs used in the Boston Marathon attack did not rely on cell phone detonators, using a “line of sight” speed controller from a remote control toy car as the trigger. It is not known what the range is on the specific controller that was used, but it is typically 250 yards or less.

The national security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is believed one or both of the brothers used the controllers to detonate the bombs, but the involvement of a third person to trigger the devices still has not been ruled out.

An important fact mentioned is that the type of controller used is not described in al Qaeda’s “Inspire” magazine, which has articles educating terrorists on how to make bombs.

What’s even more interesting to me is the passing mention in the video that the Tsarnaev brothers had apparently made their bombs without experiencing failure or a “workplace accident.” I’d wondered before where they (or, at least, the older brother) had tested their devices without anyone noticing. This would suggest strongly that Tamerlan, the older brother, got his “education” outside the country, probably during his six-month trip to Dagestan.

It’s possible, perhaps probable that one of the Tsarnaevs worked the controller, then ditched it in the days before they were killed or caught. But the information in Herridge’s report about the possibility of a third party shows that we don’t yet know nearly enough about what happened.

RELATED: Speaking of “who else may have been involved or known,” Jester has a hunch. It also bears directly on the “where did they test the bombs” question. Worth reading. Also, at Hot Air, the bombs showed “training or expertise.”

via Pat Dollard by way of Melissa Clouthier

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Shock and surprise: Diane Feinstein’s husband’s company lands big high-speed rail contract

April 26, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Because, at nearly $35,000,000 per mile, they surely had to be the cheapest:

Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.

Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?

Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.

So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.

The group lead by Tutor Perini bid $985,000,000 to build the initial 29-mile stretch, roughly from Fresno to Madera, which doesn’t include the costs for electrification and land purchase. And, as Laer points out at Crazifornia, they started with this section because it’s the cheapest. (I can’t wait to see what the bids are to lay track through the mountain passes…)

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the principle owner of the company is husband to a powerful United States senator, who happens to be from the state building said rail system. I mean, it’s not as if there have been any allegations of self-dealing before.

I’m about as shocked as Louis was in Casablanca:

via Katy Grimes

UPDATE 01/30/2014: It appears Blum divested himself of Tutor-Perini stock in 2005, calling into question much of the Crazifornia article. The rail deal still stinks like a fish left out in the sun, however.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Congress and their aides getting an Obamacare exception?? UPDATE: @Politico jumped the gun?

April 25, 2013

satire angry mob

If this Politico story is true, it’s pitchforks and torches time:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

Boehner couldn’t be this stupid, could he? I mean, forget Harry Reid; I wouldn’t put anything past that weasel. But Speaker Boehner has to know any deal carving out an exemption for Congress would tear the Republican coalition apart, doesn’t he? The nation overall hates Obamacare, but, to the conservative base this law is a constitutional obscenity, a legislative vampire that needs a stake driven through its heart and an anonymous burial at a crossroads at midnight. To make a deal exempting themselves from its provisions would be see as nothing less than a gross, vile betrayal, and it would cripple the Republican efforts in the 2014 elections before the campaign really got underway.

While reading the article, the cynical side of me wondered if this wasn’t a hit job by the liberal Politico, which isn’t exactly known for unbiased reporting. Throughout the article, they’re at pains to emphasize how much of a danger a deal would pose to Democrats. But, think about it: the Left will vote Democratic no matter what, because they know Obamacare is a Trojan Horse hiding within it their beloved single-payer system. They’ll let Reid cut a deal now, knowing they’ll eventually get what they want. But Boehner? What would he gain from this?Well, when I read this:

There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it.

The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty.

And this:

When asked about the high-level bipartisan talks, Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said: “The speaker’s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president’s health care law. He is approached daily by American citizens, including members of Congress and staff, who want to be freed from its mandates. If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from Obamacare, he will.

…I fear it’s real.

Dear Speaker Boehner: You may feel real sympathy for aides who will take a severe hit from Obamacare, but so will the rest of us, and we won’t forgive self-dealing in this case. This is a terrible, terrible idea. Don’t just call it off, call a press conference for Thursday to denounce it in unmistakable terms. Harry Reid is playing you. State as clearly as you can that Congress and all who work in it will suffer under this bill the same as all Americans, until it is repealed.

Otherwise, you can kiss off your House majority.

via Salena Zito

UPDATE: Per Ezra Klein at The Washington Post, this may be much less than it seems:

If this sounds unbelievable, it’s because it is. There’s no effort to “exempt” Congress from Obamacare. No matter how this shakes out, Congress will have to follow the law, just like everyone else does.

Based on conversations I’ve had with a number of the staffs involved in these talks, the actual issue here is far less interesting, and far less explosive, than an exemption. Rather, a Republican amendment meant to embarrass Democrats and a too-clever-by-half Democratic response has possibly created a problem in which the federal government can’t make its normal contribution to the insurance premiums of congressional staffers.

Follow the link for the rest. Which is true? We’ll just have to wait and see. (h/t “ReallyNow” in the ST comments)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)