Obama to Islamic terrorists: hostage-taking season is now open!

June 24, 2015
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Not to put it *too* strongly…

One of the worst things one can do with people engaged in bad behavior is to give in to it in the hope that a concession will satisfy them. Instead, concessions just tell them that bad behavior works and gets rewards, encouraging them to do it again.

This is exactly what our president has done, putting in danger every American traveling overseas:

The White House is set to release the results of its hostage policy review, which will make clear the U.S. will not stop American families who are willing to negotiate with or pay ransoms to terror groups holding their loved ones hostage.

The administration will create a new office that will work with the American families of hostage victims, but will not change the law regarding the U.S. ransom policies, administration officials said today. A senior official said the hostage interagency fusion cell will be physically housed at FBI headquarters and initially will be run by a senior FBI official. Officials from other agencies and departments may rotate in to run the program in the future.

President Obama is set to meet on Wednesday with the families of hostages held overseas and make a statement on the review.

Though the excerpt doesn’t say so, the “terror groups” alluded to are ISIS and other Islamic jihadist organizations.

Look, I understand and sympathize with the families’ position here: having loved ones held hostage by maniacal, murderous terrorists must be a living Hell. If I were in that boat, I’d want the law to get out of my way, too, as I try to arrange their release.

I even get Obama’s position: he’s had a hostage rescue go bad in the past, resulting in the deaths of the hostages. The victims’ families are terribly sympathetic, and it’s a natural human urge to want to do something to help. So, if action on our part does no good –or even harm– then why not clear the way (1) by not enforcing the law against negotiating with terrorists?

Because the president, any president, has much more to worry about than the peril of one or a few individuals. His responsibility is to the nation as a whole, including the safety of Americans not yet taken hostage. By telling these families it’s okay to pay ransom, he has also told the jihad organizations that hostage-taking works. Kidnap an American, get some money, US won’t interfere… rinse and repeat. Robert Spencer explains why this will only encourage jihadists:

I would be very happy if this were true [that hostage-taking is against Islamic law. –PF], but I have to ask: if it is only an “extreme radical fundamentalist element” that believes this, why does it show up in Islamic legal manuals? Why does Al-Azhar University, the most respected institution in Sunni Islam, endorse ‘Umdat al-Salik, a manual of Islamic law that says this: “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled” (o9.13)? If the capture of non-combatants is forbidden by Islam, are we to believe that these captured women and children were acting as soldiers? If the vast majority of Muslims reject this sort of thing, why does Al-Azhar say that ‘Umdat al-Salik “conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community (ahl al-Sunna wa al-Juma’a)”?

If the killing of these hostages is likewise forbidden, why does the same manual stipulate that prisoners can be killed, exchanged for ransom (why exchanged for ransom, if they are not hostages?), enslaved, or released, depending on what is best for the Muslim community (o9.14)?

I have the Umdat al-Salik on my bookshelf and can attest the above quotes are accurate. Jihad-terror groups know this, too. It can reasonably be argued that their religion endorses hostage-taking.

It’s said the road to Hell is paved with good intentions; this is an on-ramp. By making this decision, I fear Obama has declared it open season on Americans all through the Middle East and across the globe.

And yes, I know Reagan negotiated for the release of hostages in Lebanon back in the 80s. We’ve done it since, too. It was a mistake then and a mistake ever after. Harsh as it may be to say “no ransom” knowing full well the possible consequences, it is still a decision that has to be made for the safety of others.

The proper course is to let hostage takers know two things: first, that they will never be paid ransom. Second, that if they harm our people, we will hunt them down and kill them, no matter how long it takes. Let them know there is no reward, but instead a terrible price to pay for kidnapping Americans.

They’ll learn.

via Biased Girl

Footnote:
(1) By unilaterally deciding to not enforce a law passed by the legislature, in defiance of his constitutional duties. Again.


ISIS: Is Barack Obama merely “incompetent,” or malevolently so?

June 10, 2015
Leadership

Leadership

I was wondering what that sound was I heard the other day. Turns out it was jaws dropping at the Pentagon when they heard their commander in chief say this:

The US does not yet have a “complete strategy” for helping Iraq regain territory from Islamic State (IS), President Barack Obama has said.

He said the Pentagon was reviewing ways to help Iraq train and equip its forces.

But Mr Obama said a full commitment to the process was needed by the Iraqis themselves.

How long has ISIS/Daesh/The Islamic State been in the news as they rampage across what used to be Syria and Iraq butchering thousands? Over a year? And yet the president says his military still hasn’t presented him with a “complete strategy?” (Which begs the question of why he wasn’t pounding his desk demanding one, being the commander in chief, after all.)

Reacting to the news that they’ve just been thrown under a bus, a Pentagon official had this to say:

One military official reacted angrily to Obama’s blamesmanship:

“What the f— was that,” the official told Fox News. “We have given him lots of options, he just hasn’t acted on them.”

I guess this is how community organizers smooth over civil-military relations: take no responsibility for what’s in your job description and then find a scapegoat to take the fall for you, hoping enough of your toadies in the press will run with that to at least confuse the issue of your own failings. Deflect and distract, it’s the Obama way.

Of course, we’ve known for years that he just isn’t really that interested in his job, especially foreign affairs, which is one of his three major constitutional responsibilities. Hence his failure to really act on the options the military chiefs have given him and his need to blame someone else for his own failings.

As the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, sometimes says, if Obama really were trying to destroy America’s foreign relations, what, exactly, would he do differently?


Bookshelf update: Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled”

June 4, 2015

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

book cover attkisson stonewalled

 

Attkisson is an award-winning investigative journalist who spent roughly 20 years with CBS before leaving in 2014. For her determined pursuit of the truth and information government and corporate officials would rather keep hidden, she’s been called a “bulldog,” a term she regards as a compliment. While Stonewalled deals with the scandals and evasions of the Obama administration and its allies, Attkisson has a reputation as a bipartisan bulldog — a pain in the tuchus to Democrats and Republicans, alike. This is what a good journalist should be.

I’m about half-way through Stonewalled and, so far, it’s been equal parts enjoyable, infuriating, and even frightening. Before discussing scandals such as Fast and Furious and the Obamacare rollout, as well as the almost equally scandalous supine attitude of mainstream journalism toward the administration, Attkisson opens with the story of her discovery that her work and personal computers, and her phone, had been hacked by a government agency during her investigation into the Benghazi massacre. Though she hasn’t yet identified in the book who she believes is responsible, I’ll note that she has filed suit against  the Department of Justice and the US Postal Service. Discovery, as they say should be interesting.

I’m reading her book in Kindle format; it’s also in soft (forthcoming) and hardcover. Regarding the Kindle edition, I’ve spotted just one lone typo and no formatting problems, which is very good for an e-book. Her writing style is straightforward, almost Hemingway-esque in its directness. If Ms. Attkisson reveals any ax to grind, it’s her firm belief that information paid for with taxpayer dollars belongs to the public, not the government.

I’ll post a review when I’ve finished.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. Wouldn’t you?


Sleep easy: If Iran gets the Bomb, so will Saudi Arabia

May 18, 2015
x

Some deal, Barack.

Of the many fatuous reasons President Obama has offered in support of his nuclear giveaway deal, one of the big ones has been an exercise in scaremongering that runs something like this: “Congress has to approve this deal because, if we don’t, it will set off a nuclear arms race in the region.”

As with almost everything else our president says, he gets it all backwards:

Saudi Arabia telegraphed further opposition to the Obama administration’s ongoing push for the nuclear deal with Iran this week. This took place only days after the nation’s leader “snubbed” the president’s Persian Gulf Summit at Camp David.

The nation’s former head of intelligence argued the Sauds would match Iran’s nuclear capabilities as a matter of national security: “We can’t sit back … as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability…” Further, Prince Turki bin Faisal has said they will not fall behind: “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” he declared at a recent conference in South Korea.

Emphasis added. Keep something in mind: Saudi Arabia may be famously corrupt; the Saudis may hypocritically enforce a particularly retrograde interpretation of Islamic law; they may tolerate slavery and treat their women like cattle; and they certainly export that same aggressive Islam and jihadism and have played a key role in the rise of the modern jihadist movement. They are all that. But they are also something else.

They are damn scared of Iran and they have all the wealth required to buy whatever weapons technology they feel they need to protect themselves against their hated Shiite foes.

Prince Turki is a very serious man and he sees the United States abandoning its traditional patronage of Saudi Arabia to appease the Saudis’ mortal enemies. If he says the Kingdom will have whatever the Iranians have (1), bank on it.

Barack Obama and John Kerry are creating the very thing they wanted to avoid in the Middle East: a nuclear arms race.

Footnote:
(1) And so will the Gulf states and Egypt, at a minimum.


Like clockwork: in revenge for US raid, ISIS vows to kill Obama

May 16, 2015
"Still the JV?"

“Coming for payback?”

Following up on this story, it looks like we really did get someone important; the jihadis are doing their usual, tiresome chest-thumping about revenge:

“If they took Abu Sayyaf, we will take Obama,” one ISIS supporter posted in the hours after the raid, which took place near the eastern Syrian city of al-Amr.

(…)

Vocativ analyzed social media across Syria in the wake of the strike and discovered some ISIS supporters claiming the news was U.S. propaganda intended to counter the momentum ISIS gained after it took most of the Iraqi city of Ramadi this week. Others tweeted from outside the Syrian city of Raqqa vowing revenge for the strike, saying they heard explosions and helicopters.

Here’s one of them on Twitter this morning:

(“If your goal is killing Abu Sayyaf then our goal is killing Obama and the worshipers of the cross. We have attacks coming against you.” Translation courtesy of Vocativ)

“Worshipers of the cross” is an Islamic insult aimed at Christians. Attacking and killing Christians is something ISIS (and other jihadi groups) have been doing a lot of in Syria, and this message threatens to bring it here to the US.

While we rightly mock the savages of ISIS, this is not a threat to be taken lightly. The conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch has repeatedly claimed that ISIS has a presence on the other side of the border in Mexico, though these claims have been disputed and denied by the government. Yet we do know other jihad terror groups have a presence in Mexico, and it is a fact our southern border is about as secure as a tissue-paper fence. We’ve already experienced several jihadi attacks here in the US, so we discount the threat from a group as determined as ISIS at our own peril.

Revenge is important in a honor-and-shame culture such as the Arabs’, and we can expect them to try to take it.

via Jihad Watch


(Video) At last: Andrew Klavan explains the Iran nuclear deal

May 1, 2015

I think this gets to the heart of it:

For their next condition, Iran will demand our lunch money.


Iran: lying suckweasel administration admits it’s full of lying suckweasels

April 21, 2015
Liar.

Liar.

A couple of weeks ago I reported on the news that, regardless of the ten-year framework proposed in the so-called nuclear deal with Iran, US intelligence estimates showed that Iran was about 2-3 months from having The Bomb, making a mockery of Obama’s precious agreement. At the time, I thought this was a relatively new estimate that the administration was stubbornly refusing to accept, since Obama’s “legacy” was at stake.

How wrong I was . That’s been the case for years — and the administration has known all along:

The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.

Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.

Read the rest of Eli Lake’s report for the various flip-flops the administration has done on its estimates, including calling the Israelis liars when they reported that same 2-3 months estimate. One can only conclude that the purpose behind the deception was to hide the true state of Iran’s program from the American people, since the administration knew, the Iranians knew, and the Israelis knew. We –and Congress– are the only ones who didn’t know and in whose faces Obama, Moniz, Kerry, and the rest of Team Suckweasel would need to blow smoke. Which they did. For years.

Suckweasels.

Via Jim Geraghty, and I have second the question he asked in today’s Three-Martini Lunch podcast: with the Obama administration effectively running cover for Tehran’s nuclear program, who the Hell is representing the interests of the American people?


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