Morons. We have morons on our team, national secrets edition

February 24, 2015
"Hey! Look what we're doing!"

“Hey! Look what we’re doing!”

First heard about this from Melissa Couthier last night; my head still hurts from hitting the desk over and over. I have just one question:

Can anyone in this government keep a damned secret?

The Pentagon let slip that one of its training camps to help fight Islamic State terrorists is in Jordan — information the pro-U.S. kingdom had specifically requested be kept private, and the latest gaffe in a series of sensitive leaks coming out of the Department of Defense.

In order to hide its flub, which was first announced to reporters during a briefing last week, the Pentagon has scrubbed its public transcripts of any mention of the training camp.

Pentagon officials acknowledged Monday that one of its officers, who was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity last week, likely made the mistake. The Pentagon’s policy is to discuss only the contributions its partner nations are making to its operations against extremists in Iraq and Syria only after those partner nations have publicly spoken about those contributions.

In Jordan’s case, that did not happen, a senior Pentagon official said.

Security analysts are befuddled by the high-level operational “screw-up.”

“Either the official made a mistake or is deliberately leaking information to put the administration’s plans for Syria in a better light in an attempt to defuse criticism that the administration has bungled efforts to aid Syrian rebels,” said James Phillips, a national security analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

I’m betting on the latter. No wonder no one over there trusts us anymore. If Obama had been president during World War II, he’d have leaked the Manhattan Project, just to show he was “out front on this war issue.”

Inauguration Day 2017 cannot come fast enough.


When Kremlin Trolls Attack

February 23, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Cold War II meets the social media age.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

The issue of online trolls doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has been getting some mainstream media attention, finally. The reality that Russia buys, or at least rents, trolls by the battalion to harass, intimidate and make life unpleasant for anybody who opposes Moscow policy, while employing aggressive agitprop to further Putinist propaganda, isn’t exactly news, but it’s nevertheless welcome to see mainstream outlets doing some digging into what’s going on.

I’ve dealt with more than my share of Kremlin trolls ever since the Edward Snowden story broke in June 2013. As a major spokesman for the anti-Snowden viewpoint, as well as the only former NSA counterintelligence officer who’s talked publicly about this case at length, I’ve gotten my share of grief and then some from online Pals of Putin, with their usual modus operandi: smears, lies, slurs, and threats.

Some of these Kremlin clowns…

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Obama, the Un-War President

February 13, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

I’m kinder to Mr. Bush than Mr. Schindler is, but what he says about President Obama below is on-the-mark. If the Bush administration was too inclined to use force , a position I have some disagreements with, the Obama administration is almost mindbogglingly unwilling to recognize or admit to situations when force, or at least the credible threat of force, is the rational answer. Well-worth reading.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

It’s been a tough week for anyone seeking to defend President Obama’s record, particularly in foreign policy, against rising accusations of fecklessness. Seven days ago, the White House unveiled its overdue National Security Strategy, five years after its last edition, to understated fanfare, with National Security Adviser Susan Rice mostly complaining that nobody understands how great things are going globally — minor incidents like the rise of the Islamic State and the aggressive war waged by Russia against Ukraine notwithstanding — and that national security is, you know, a tough job.

The mantra attached to the new NSS is Strategic Patience, which was met with guffaws, since it seems to be more a rationalization of Obama’s (in)actions over the last six years than any bona fide strategy. Mostly, it appears to be “don’t do stupid shit,” the administration previous foreign policy mantra, dressed up in grad school IR cliches.

To…

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In which Max Abrahms makes a darn fine observation

February 8, 2015

Looking at the ferocity of the Jordanian response to ISIS’ atrocities, he notes:

Funny how that works, isn’t it? Almost as if there’s a double-standard in play, with the loser happening to be Jewish… Nah. Couldn’t be.


On Arming Ukraine

February 4, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

A needed bit of “real talking” on the slow-motion war in Ukraine.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

I have been sharply critical of Ukraine’s political and military leadership in the war against Russia. Kyiv must get serious, now, if it expects to prevent the further destruction and dismemberment of their country by Vladimir Putin. The lack of gravitas in military matters demonstrated by Petro Poroshenko and his goverment — favoring vacillation, candlelight prayers, hashtags and trips to Davos instead of mobilization and strategy-making — does not inspire confidence in Ukraine’s ability to stem the Russian tide.

That said, Western aid to Ukraine to date is stunningly unimpressive and indicates that even core members of NATO and the EU are willing to watch Kyiv be crushed. Angela Merkel’s Germany has signaled that under no circumstances will it assist Ukraine with weaponry, which sends a clear message to all NATO and/or EU countries east of the Oder that they, too, will be sacrificed by Berlin if Putin decides…

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ISIS murders captured Jordanian pilot. Update: fatwa issued justifying burning

February 3, 2015
Lt. al Kasasibah

Lt. al Kasasibah at the moment of his execution

(Photo courtesy of The Long War Journal)

They burned him alive:

In what is perhaps its most brutal execution video to date, the Islamic State burned alive a Jordanian pilot who was captured in late December 2014 after his warplane was purportedly shot down over Syria.

The Islamic State murdered First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah, the Jordanian pilot, at the end of a lengthy 22-minute-long video that was released by the group today, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

“The video shows media footage of Jordan’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition against IS [Islamic State] and then shows al Kasasibah discussing Jordan’s operations in a news-style monologue bearing a black eye,” according to a summary by SITE.

“Afterward, the video goes back and forth between shots of al Kasasibah surrounded by fighters and shots of aftermath of bombings. At the end of the video, al Kasasibah stands inside of a cage and is burned alive by fighters,” SITE noted.

Kasasibah, who is dressed in the same orange shirt and pants worn by other prisoners who have been executed by the Islamic State, cries out in horrible pain as he is burned alive.

Jordan has threatened to retaliate against jihadist prisoners in their custody, speaking up their trials and (presumably) their executions. In the politics of the Arab Middle East, they almost have to go through with this, or be seen as weak and unwilling to protect or take revenge for their own soldiers. That is not a good thing to have happen.

Jihad Watch points out something not mentioned in The Long War Journal’s article: the Islamic justification for this atrocity offered by ISIS. The video opens with a quote from Qur’an 9:14:

“Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you over them, heal the breasts of Believers.”

…a verse cited by other jihadists, including here in the US.

More germane, though, is the cited example of Muhammad himself, from the earliest biography of him, by ibn Ishaq in the 8th century:

…there is this story from Muhammad’s conquest of Khaybar: “Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle [Muhammad -pf] who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.” (Ibn Ishaq 515).

In other words the man was burned alive to make him give up his tribe’s gold. Islam declares Muhammad to be the perfect man, whose words and deeds provide an example for all time. Thus ISIS could cite this story as precedent.

It would be nice if, for once, all these Islamic groups so concerned about their religion being misunderstood (CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, &c.) would preach publicly about why ISIS and other jihadists have it wrong, using citations from the Qur’an and hadiths to prove their case. Simply saying “we condemn this” is not enough, and, until they do, we have to assume that the self-proclaimed “caliph,” who is said to hold a PhD in Islamic Studies, may well know what he is talking about and that his followers are acting with his approval.

Is there no one who will stand up to ISIS and destroy these monsters?

In the meantime, God rest poor Lt. Kasasibah and his family.

UPDATE: From Raymond Ibrahim, word of a fatwa (a ruling in Islamic law) justifying the manner of the murder of Lt. Kasasibah. An excerpt from his analysis:

The main point of the fatwa is that “the Hanafis and Shafi‘is [two of Sunni Islam’s four orthodox schools of jurisprudence] permit burning” people. The fatwa also cites the tafsir, or exegesis, of Muhalab ibn Safra concerning a statement attributed to the prophet of Islam: “Fire does not punish them but Allah.” According to the tafsir, Muhammad’s assertion is not a ban on burning people but rather meant to demonstrate humility—pointing out that only Allah can truly torment.

Next the fatwa quotes Hafiz ibn al-Hajar who comments that “the deeds of the companions [of Muhammad] evince the permissibility of burning, and the prophet put out the eyes of the men of Urayna with heated iron, and Khalid bin al-Walid burned some of the people who apostatized.”

Again, if Muslim leaders in the West are concerned about their religion being misinterpreted, where are their learned criticisms when ISIS (or al Qaeda, or any other jihadist group) cites Islamic texts for the justifications?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good News: the Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels are really moderates we can work with!

January 26, 2015

Last week, Iranian-backed “Fiver” Shia rebels captured Yemen’s capital and forced the president to resign. Given that the former government had (mostly) cooperated with our counter-terrorism efforts and given also that the Houthi rebels were supported by our enemy, Iran, one might expect them to be hostile to us.

The New York Times, however, is here to tell us we’re wrong. The good news? They’re really moderates!

But for all their harsh sloganeering, the Houthis may be a lot more moderate than [their motto] suggests, according to many diplomats and analysts who have followed them closely. They say it would be premature to dismiss them as Yemen’s Hezbollah, despite their alliance with Iran.

Of course, we all remember those “moderate Islamists” in Syria we were so happy to work with and train, right? That’s sure worked out well.

Anyway, back to Yemen. Let me ask — does this look at all “moderate” to you?

Yep. The very soul of moderation. Why, I bet they belong to their local Kiwanis Club, too.

It’s said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The coffee table version of that is obviously illustrated with pictures of The Times and its “experts.”

via Patrick Poole, who has much more


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