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justifications for action in Iraq: they’ve argued since the American withdrawal from Iraq that the Bush-era AUMF is outdated and should be repealed, so it’s very difficult to use that as a justification for new action.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.


Memorial Day quote of the day: Iraq veterans edition

May 30, 2011

From the great Walter Russell Mead:

[Osama’s] dream died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama’s dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn’t just die.

It was killed.

And it was killed by coalition forces.  They killed it by fighting harder and smarter than the enemy and they killed it by winning trust and building bridges better than the enemy.  They did it because they were better, more honorable warriors and better, more honorable partners for peace.  Mostly American and mostly Christian, the coalition forcers were more compassionate, more just, more protective of the poor and more respectful of Arab women than the crazed thugs who thought setting off bombs in the market was fulfilling God’s will.

We must continue to honor and thank the Arab allies and tribal leaders who made the choice for America in a dark and a difficult time.  But especially on this Memorial Day we must honor and remember the American heroes who by their lives and by their deaths brought victory out of defeat, understanding out of hatred and gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a chance to get this whole thing right.

The story of America’s victory over terror in Mesopotamia needs to be told.  In justice to those who sacrificed so much, and for the sake of those who may have to face similar dangers in the future, somebody needs to tell the real story of how, against all odds and in the face of unremitting skepticism and defeatism at home, our armed forces built a foundation for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.

All wars are tragic; some are also victorious.  The tragedies of Iraq are real and well known.  The victory is equally real — but the politically fastidious don’t want to look.  The minimum we owe our lost and wounded warriors is to tell the story of what they so gloriously achieved.

On this Memorial Day, a truth needs to be told.

We have not yet done justice to our dead.

Read the whole thing.

PS: Guess that resolution went the way of all things…


A liberal explains the difference between Libya and Iraq

March 25, 2011

It’s simple! Obama is awesome!!

Makes perfect sense.

via Jonah Goldberg

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Don’t ever complain to me about the money spent on Iraq, again

September 1, 2010

For years –years!– under George W. Bush, the Democrats and their Leftist allies cried rivers of crocodile tears over the money being spent to first liberate, then stabilize that land. They claimed so often and so loudly to be worried about the debts incurred and the deficits run, that they convinced the electorate that they would actually be better stewards of the public’s money, and partly for that were given control of Congress in 2006.

Well, have a look at this:

In less than two years, the Democrats have made spending on the war in Iraq look like pocket change:

As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

In 2007 and 2008, the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

That’s $709 billion spread over seven years, compared to $862 billion in one-third the time.

In return for our money*, in Iraq we overthrew a brutal, murderous dictator and helped establish what has a good chance to become the first stable Arab democracy ever in the heart of the Middle East, a nation that could, with luck, patience, and skill, become a strong ally against terrorism and the plans of the religious fascists in Tehran. We also crushed al Qaeda in Iraq, forcing it to waste lives and resources there, and exposing its brutality for all the Arab world to see.

In return for the stimulus package, we got… unemployment higher than promised and that may turn structural, a feeble economic “recovery” that threatens to go into another recession, mind-boggling deficits and debt to foreign powers, and, by admission from the President’s own economic adviser, a failure.

You tell me which money was better spent.

And I don’t ever again want to hear a (Social) Democrat complain about the costs of “Bush’s war,” or about fiscal responsibility in general.

*(No, I am not discounting or monetizing the lives lost in Iraq. Any casualties in war are tragedies, however necessary. But this discussion is strictly about the money spent and the Democrats’ rank hypocrisy when they posed as champions of fiscal responsibility.)

via Fausta.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


About Obama’s speech on Iraq

September 1, 2010

I didn’t watch, but I read it. There isn’t much to say about this singularly unimpressive speech, but here are a few observations.

  • A lack of grace and courtesy: Sure, he mentioned Bush, but gave him no credit for the strategy change -the “surge”- that enabled Obama to take credit for leaving a relatively stable Iraq on schedule. No admission that he, Barack Obama, was wrong in his opposition to the surge. And once again he treats our volunteer citizen-soldiers primarily as victims, while nearly ignoring their successes. Our President has no class.
  • Perfunctory: When you look at the speech, it’s clear Iraq and the accomplishments of our military and diplomats merely were the framework for his real goal – another sell-job for his economic program.
  • Boring. Come on, we were sold a “golden orator” in 2007-08, the greatest speaker since Pericles delivered his funeral oration. This flat thing is the best he can do for an address from the Oval Office?

LINKS: For more thorough analysis, have a look at Hot Air; Roger Kimball wonders why they didn’t call for a rewrite; Jim Hanson says Obama has learned nothing about being Commander in Chief; Moe Lane demands Obama be held accountable; Power Line called it limp and boring. Sarah Palin offered some advice Obama would have been wise to take.


Obama: “Iraq was all about me”

August 28, 2010

The Narcissist in Chief President uses his weekly address to comment on the official end of combat operations in Iraq:

(Transcript)

No mention of the victories won by our forces there, either during the initial liberation or in the hard-fought guerrilla war that culminated in the 2007-08 “surge.” No admission that he, himself, was wrong when in 2007 he described Iraq as a total failure even while the results of the surge were becoming manifest. And certainly no thanks to the man who provided the needed political will to see the surge take place at all: George W. Bush.

Instead we get yet another focus on Obama by Obama, as he takes credit for ending a war that was largely over by the time he took office, and a paean to our forces which mostly treats them as victims because it focuses on their sacrifices and the hurts they’ve suffered, but makes no mention of victories won and the good they’ve done. Promising educational benefits and especially an improved Veteran’s Administration is a good thing (Lord knows, VA services are often scandalous), but would it have killed him to admit their overthrow of Saddam Hussein put an end to a living Hell? Or that crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-08 made Iraq and indeed the world a better place?

Or simply that they won?

Eh, who am I kidding? “Victory” is a dead word in the Leftist lexicon, unless it’s over conservatives. Instead, “victim” is their touchstone.

LINKS: More from Ed Morrissey, who, like me, worries that Obama may pull the rest of our forces out way too soon; Iraq will need an American shield to protect it from its ravenous neighbors for many years to come, while it develops its own forces and, just as important, the habits of democracy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Victor Davis Hanson: War and History, Ancient and Modern

June 14, 2010

Michael Totten, a journalist I highly recommend who specializes in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, conducts a wide-ranging interview of historian Victor Davis Hanson. It’s long, but read the whole thing; you’ll learn quite a bit.

One item that jumped out at me came at the end, when VDH discusses an exchange he had with a European admiral just prior to Obama’s election. It’s revelatory on several levels of European attitudes toward and dependency on the United States, and their fear of us becoming like them:

I had an interesting conversation two years ago just before Obama’s election with some military people in Versailles. They were at a garden party, and everybody was for Obama. But an admiral said to me, “We are Obama. You can’t be Obama.”

Everybody looked at him. And I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “There’s only room for one Obama.”

I said, “So we’re supposed to do what? Take out Iran while you trash us?”

And he said, “Right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better. Bush understood our relationship. We have to make accommodations with our public, which is lunatic. You don’t really believe there’s going to be an EU strike force, do you? Nobody here believes that. If you become neutral, what are we supposed to do?

That’s what he said. I was surprised at his candor. And it’s worrisome. On the one hand I like it because they’re getting just what they asked for, but on the other hand, it’s tragic. And it’s dangerous. We shouldn’t be doing this.

Emphasis added.


Religion of misogyny and child-abuse

April 10, 2010

Two items in the news: In Australia, a Muslim man strangled his Muslim wife to death for being too Australian:

A man who killed his wife by using her veil to strangle her in their Melbourne home did so in the belief he was entitled to dominate her, a Supreme Court judge has found.

Soltan Azizi was today sentenced to 22 years’ jail by Justice Betty King, who said the Afghani refugee had been physically abusive towards Marzieh Rahimi throughout their 14-year marriage.

Justice King said Ms Rahimi had sought help from social workers and was intending to leave Azizi, despite him warning that he would kill her if she tried.

She said Azizi had complained to Ms Rahimi’s sister in the days prior to her killing that his wife was becoming “too Australian”, meaning “she was not a docile and good wife in the terms you expected her to be”.

“It is clear you were unable to accept that your wife had rights, which rights included the ability to leave you if that was what she desired,” Justice King said.

“… Her death clearly resulted because of your belief that you were entitled to dominate and dictate to your wife what she could and could not do.”

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch points out that honor killings like the above keep happening because Islamic teachings excuse and even encourage them.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, police stopped a ten-year old boy before he could turn himself into a suicide bomber:

A 10-year-old Iraqi boy allegedly recruited by al-Qaeda was about to blow himself in a suicide attack on Wednesday just east of Fallujah when police spotted and arrested him, a senior officer said.

The incident occurred near a police checkpoint in Amariyat Al-Fallujah, a village 15km east of the former Sunni rebel bastion of Fallujah and due west of Baghdad, said Captain Anas al-Issawi.

“The 10-year-old boy had been used by al-Qaeda in the past to place bombs,” Issawi said, adding that the child disappeared from his family home in Amariyat Al-Fallujah four days ago.

“Three men aboard a van drove him to the isolated village of Shitsher (75km west of Baghdad) to prepare him for the suicide operation,” the officer said, quoting the boy’s own testimony.

On Wednesday morning the men helped the boy don an explosives-rigged vest under the traditional dishdasha (long robe) and drove him at dawn to the outskirts of Amariyat Al-Fallujah.

They instructed him to blow himself up as soon as the place began milling with people, the officer said, quoting the boy’s testimony.

Congratulations to the IP for rescuing the boy. This disgusting manipulation of children by these brave, brave mujaheddin is all too common. (via The Jawa Report)


Monday links fiesta!

March 15, 2010

I’ve got a bunch of interesting links that I’ve been letting sit for one reason or another, so here they are in a bunch. Pick and choose the ones that most interest you!

War and the Jihad

Iraq held a national election for a new parliament last week. In spite of terrorist attacks that killed dozens in an attempt to derail the elections, roughly 60% of the electorate turned out. (Lazy American voters, hang your heads in shame.) Now that a few days have passed, the results are in and they look encouraging. Perhaps George Bush’s “mission accomplished” moment was only premature, not wrong? Regardless, congratulations to the Iraqi politicians, security forces, and the people themselves for flipping millions of purple fingers at the fascists.

At Threat Matrix, Bill Roggio relays a congressman’s concerns about a growing threat from another jihadist group: Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Something you will rarely read on this blog, in this case regarding Geert Wilders: Charles Krauthammer is wrong. More at Jihad Watch and from Roger L. Simon.

More from Wilders, on his controversial call to ban the Qur’an in Holland.

Foreign Affairs

Barack Obama finally gives up trying to force a dictator on Honduras.

I Can’t Believe She Said This

Nancy Pelosi on why we have to pass ObamaCare:

You’ve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don’t know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention—it’s about diet, not diabetes. It’s going to be very, very exciting.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.

It’s not that she thinks we’re stupid. It’s that she thinks we’re all kindergartners. (More from ST)

More Health Care

Shawn Tully on the insane accounting needed to make ObamaCare look even barely presentable. (via Blue Crab Boulevard)

At Last

At Big Government, “Josie Wales” argues the constitutional case against the progressives who dominate the Democratic Party and control our government.

That’s all, folks!


Chemical Ali becomes fertilizer

January 25, 2010

This genuinely brightens my day: Ali Hassan al-Majid, known to the world as “Chemical Ali” for his use of nerve gas against Kurds in Iraq, has been hanged:

Majid, an enforcer in Saddam Hussein’s regime and his cousin, had earlier been sentenced to death four times for genocide and crimes against humanity.

In January, he was sentenced to death for ordering the gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988.

It is believed that about 5,000 people died in the attack.

Hanging will suffice, though, to be honest, I would have released him naked in the middle of Halabja and told him to start running.

Rot in Hell, you son of a bitch.

Now at room temperature.

(hat tip: The Jawa Report)


Al Qaeda can watch our military video feeds?

December 17, 2009

This is a mind-boggling breach of security:

Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.

U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America’s enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.

And it’s not as if this is some new, unexpected development; the Pentagon has known of this problem since the 1990s, but did nothing about it because they didn’t think the local yo-yos were smart enough to find out about it.

Pardon me, but, um… WTF??

Maybe Abdul in a cave wouldn’t figure it out, but what about their patrons in Iran (who’ve shown themselves to be pretty creative), or their patrons in Moscow and Beijing? Do we really have such stupid and arrogant schmucks in military who thought that no rival could discover this and then pass on the information? Really?

Excuse me while I go find the nearest brick wall to bang my head against.

Threat Matrix gives us the cheery news that the problem isn’t just affecting Iraq, but Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well. And not just our drone feeds, but all air-to-ground transmissions. They outline a worst-case scenario:

…our rivals such as Russia and China, our adversaries such as Iran, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, etc., and our erstwhile allies such as Pakistan have been monitoring our feeds for years, and thus have learned plenty about how the US plans and conducts attacks, as well as the capabilities and limitations of the weapons and observation platforms. The DoD officials downplayed the leaked information and said no US troops were harmed due to the breach. That may be true today, but may not be the case in future conflicts.

The following is purely speculation on my part. Don’t be surprised if you read a story in the next few days or weeks that elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency has been monitoring US Predator and Reaper feeds, and relaying targeting information to al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. I have heard far too many stories about how senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders miraculously avoided attacks and left the target sites just minutes before the strikes. The officials repeatedly told me that they believed the anti-US elements in the ISI would tip off the terrorist commanders before the strikes.

This news isn’t just disturbing: that we knew about it for years and did nothing to fix it tells of a nauseating level of incompetence. Several heads need to roll, and then whatever money it takes to fix the problem needs to be spent now. This is just as bad as having a mole in the planning rooms; the repercussions of what our potential and actual enemies may have learned about how we operate could be felt for years from now.

Seriously, why weren’t these transmissions encrypted? Surely there weren’t insuperable obstacles to that.

I’ve often said that no one can beat us if we don’t beat ourselves, and it’s at moments like this I think we’re trying to prove it.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.


Why do I think this is a bad idea?

September 20, 2009

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor when Carter was president, thinks the US should shoot down Israeli warplanes if they cross Iraqi airspace to attack Iran.

Now, I’d like to think even Team Obama would laugh Zbig and his lunatic ideas out the door, but, given their bizarre foreign policy that seems to consist of pimp-slapping our allies and appeasing our enemies, I’m not so sure.

At the very least, they’re all too likely to give this failed incompetent elder statesman a serious hearing.  At wits end

LINKSGateway Pundit.

UPDATE: At Conservatives for Palin, Doug Brady looks at Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter, the mystery of the pro-Democrat Jewish vote, and Sarah Palin’s position on Iran and Israel.


Hunt them down and kill them all

August 7, 2009

I don’t care who you are or what your cause is: if you belong to an organization that can do this to a child, you don’t just deserve to die, you need to die:

Like many young boys, Khidir loves playing with toy cars and wants to be a policeman like his father when he grows up. But it was his father’s very job that caused the tiny child to suffer the unimaginable.

Khidir was just 6 years old when he was savagely ripped away from his family, kidnapped by al Qaeda operatives in Iraq.

“They beat me with a shovel, they pulled my teeth out with pliers, they would go like this and pull it,” said Khidir, now 8, demonstrating with his hands. “And they would make me work on the farm gathering carrots.”

What followed was even more horrific, an ordeal that would last for two years in captivity. Khidir and his father spoke to CNN recently, more than half a year after his rescue by Iraqi police.

“This is where they hammered a nail into my leg and then they pulled it out,” he says, lifting up his pant leg to show a tiny wound.

He says his captors also pulled out each of his tiny fingernails, broke both his arms, and beat him repeatedly on the side of the head with a shovel. He still suffers chronic headaches. He remembers them laughing as they inflicted the pain.

“I would think about my mommy and daddy,” he replies, when asked how he managed to get through the agony.

Excuse me while I go get sick.

LINKS: Michael Yon provides more examples of al-Qaeda’s barbarity: Bless the beasts and the children.


Leaving Babylon

July 1, 2009

I wrote here about Iraq taking security control of its cities while American forces withdraw to rural bases and how it signaled victory for us and the Iraqis. Ralph Peters also writes on the significance of the moment, but he says it much more eloquently than I. Here’s a sample:

There is evil in the world. No matter how resistant Obama may be to learning that basic lesson, our enemies will hammer it into him.

As our troops leave Iraq’s cities today, their commanders know that
still more bloody trials lie ahead. Now and then, the Iraqis will
“shoot the red star cluster,” calling for our help. But today isn’t
just a day for Iraqis to celebrate — it’s a good day for us, too.

And it’s a day of vindication for a former president who saw
clearly, but spoke poorly (to the delighted mortification of the
media).

Now we have a president who expresses himself beautifully, but
seems blind to international reality. And it’s up to him to determine
whether Iraq was a new beginning or a dead end.

Be sure to read the whole thing.