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Tags: ISIS

‘War on Women’ Rhetoric Sounds Silly During an Actual War



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Now Added to the Anxious Pre-Election Landscape: Explosions, Hacking

American Electorate Status: Freaked the heck out. Next status: Private Hudson’s “Game over, man, game over!”

Freak-out Factor One:

An unmanned rocket that was to resupply the International Space Station blew up Tuesday night a few seconds after lift-off from Wallops Island, Va.

The Orbital Sciences rocket rose a short distance from the launch pad and then exploded in a ball of orange flame.

NASA confirmed that all personnel were accounted for, and there were no injuries in the explosion. However, it appeared that the explosion caused substantial damage on the ground in the launch area.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known. But at lift-off, rockets are filled with highly volatile fuel.

CNN quoted a launch director as saying that the spacecraft contained “classified . . . equipment.” A crawl on the network’s coverage reported that the director had described the items as “crypto-equipment.”

Watch the video; the onlookers scream when they see and hear that secondary explosion. It’s probably an unfortunate tech failure inherent to the difficulties of getting enormous amounts of rocket fuel to ignite and generate thrust in the right way at the right time; launching a rocket is . . . well, rocket science.

But you know what was going through the minds of those people in that crowd: They hit us again.

Freak-out Factor Two: “Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed on Tuesday.”

So, is it easier to sneak into the White House, or the White House servers?

CNN’s Jim Acosta quoted a White House official: “Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected.” My, that’s a generic term and passive voice.

Freak-out Factor Three: Probably nothing . . . but we don’t know if the government is showing all of its cards in what it knows about ISIS, potential “lone wolves,” and/or other Islamist extremists in our midst. And that’s perfectly fine.

The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced heightened security measures at federal buildings in the District and nationwide, citing the recent shooting at the Canadian Parliament and threats from terrorist groups to attack the homeland.

DHS officials emphasized that the step was precautionary and not based on any intelligence about a specific terrorist plot. Rather, they said, the shootings in Canada and other events such as the ongoing U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria dictated that more security would be a wise measure. The increased security started over the weekend but was only announced Tuesday because of its sensitivity, they said.

Is it any wonder that Democrats “war on women” rhetoric sounds increasingly silly to the electorate, at a time when Americans sense that they are in an actual war with terrorists and others who seek to harm them?

Tags: War On Women , ISIS

‘While ISIS Grew, Obama Did Nothing. Hagan Did Cocktails.’



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Over on the Corner, our Joel Gehrke details how Senator Kay Hagan, North Carolina Democrat, admitted after a debate earlier this week that she attended a fundraiser rather than a classified hearing on the threat of ISIS.

But not just any fundraiser. A cocktail party. If this happened in a novel, you would roll your eyes at the cliché.

Earlier, we examined Thom Tillis’s folksy, quasi-biographical ads that had run through late September, and wondered aloud if they were tough enough.

Take a look at Thom Tillis’s tough ad: “Cocktail party.”

“Hagan admits she prioritized a cocktail party to benefit her campaign. While ISIS grew, Obama did nothing. Hagan did cocktails. To change policies, change your senator.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Thom Tillis , Kay Hagan , ISIS

Is There an ISIS Threat on the Texas-Mexico Border or Not?



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From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Is There an ISIS Threat on the Texas-Mexico Border or Not?

Yesterday we noted the surprising statement from Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, that “at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas” by the U.S. Border Patrol.

That statement generated a pretty firm denial from DHS Wednesday:

“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement today. “DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”

But then a few hours later, the government watchdog group Judicial Watch released a shocking statement with some more specific claims about ISIS members being caught — but with no named sources attached to it:

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

Judicial Watch’s release also noted:

In late August JW reported that Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to JW that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Because we haven’t heard about any car bombs in cities near the U.S.-Mexican border, one might conclude this is merely chatter and rumors.

But then there’s this wrinkle, from KVIA, the ABC affiliate in El Paso, Texas, August 31, 2014:

Fort Bliss officials announced Sunday morning that several recent security concerns have forced them to increase security at the entry gates.

Officials told ABC-7 that their concern for safety will affect vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian access to the installation through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

ABC-7 asked Fort Bliss spokesperson Lt. Col. Lee Peters if this was related to the alleged Islamic State threat in Juarez.

He said, “Based on [Department of Defense] guidance from recent nationwide incidents, and our own internal assessments coupled with recent media reporting, we decided to implement increased security measures on Bliss. These changes are not as a result of a specific threat but rather to simply get prudent security measures in place to protect our military, employees and visitors.”

Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, is directly across the border from Ciudad Juarez:

So apparently someone in our government was indeed on alert about “several recent security concerns” in late summer.

UPDATE: In today’s Washington Post, another embarrassing scandal story for the U.S. Secret Service:

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

So the Department of Homeland Security wants us to trust them when they say there’s no evidence for a congressman’s claim of a dangerous threat at the border . . . the day before we learn that the same DHS told its inspector general to delay an investigation for political reasons. Rather difficult to take them at their word, hmm?

Tags: ISIS , Mexico

ISIS Fighters Getting Caught Coming Across the U.S.-Mexican Border?



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Say What? ‘At Least Ten ISIS Fighters Have Been Caught Coming Across the Border’

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, does not seem like a nut job or prone to wild exaggerations. But last night he said something that should make jaws drop:

Van Susteren: Hold on. Stop for one second.

Hunter: They are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.

Van Susteren: Let me ask a question. You say that they are coming in the southern border, which changes all the dynamics Do you have any information that they are coming in through the southern border now?

Hunter: Yes.

Van Susteren: Tell me what you know.

Hunter: At least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.

Van Susteren: How do you know that?

Hunter: Because I’ve asked the border patrol, Greta.

Van Susteren: And the border patrol just let’s ISIS members come across the border?

Hunter: No. They caught them at the border. Therefore, we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them, you know that there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol. That’s how you know. That’s where we are at risk here, is from ISIS and radical Islamists coming across the border. Once again, they don’t have a navy, air force, nuclear weapons. The only way that Americans are going to be harmed by radical Islam — Chairman Dempsey said the same thing. He said that’s where the major threat is here, that’s how these guys are going to infiltrate through America and harm Americans.

Then add this comment by a House Democrat:

Rep. Tim Bishop (D., N.Y.) warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat.

Bishop claims that of the 100 or so Americans who have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIL’s ranks, some 40 have returned and are currently being surveilled by the FBI, according to his remarks, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube last week.

“One of the concerns is the number of U.S. citizens who have left our country to go join up with ISIS,” Bishop said during the speech. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that.”

“It is also believed that some 40 of those who left this country to join up with ISIS have now returned to our country,” Bishop said, eliciting shocked responses from some in the crowd.

Is the threat of ISIS terrorists crossing our southern border no longer theoretical? Could the administration really successfully cover up something as big as this?

Tags: ISIS , Duncan Hunter

FLASHBACK: In June, House Democrats Opposed U.S. Action in Iraq



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Hey, Didn’t Democrats Once Staunchly Oppose Combat in Iraq? Like, Back in June?

Was it wise for Democrats to vote against funding any U.S. combat operations in Iraq earlier this summer?

In June 2014, Bruce Braley Voted For An Amendment To The Defense Appropriations Bill That Would Have Barred Funding For Any Combat Operations In Iraq. “Lee, D-Calif., amendment that would bar the use of funds in the bill for any combat operations in Iraq.” (H.R. 4870, CQ Vote #325: Rejected in Committee of the Whole 165-250: R 23-206; D 142-44, 6/19/14, Braley Voted Yea)

ROLL CALL: “With President Barack Obama grappling with how to respond to the escalating violence in Iraq and the rapid rise of an insurgent terrorist organization there, House Democrats have spoken: They overwhelmingly want to cut off funding for combat in the region, especially boots on the ground. Late Thursday, 142 Democrats and a handful of Republicans joined forces behind an amendment to the fiscal 2015 defense appropriations bill that would have barred any spending on combat operations in Iraq.” (Emma Dumain, “House Democrats Overwhelmingly Vote Against Funding Combat Operations In Iraq,” Roll Call, 6/20/14)

“Well, that was before ISIS beheaded the captured Americans!” House Democrats might whine in defense.

Yes, precisely.

Braley, a week ago: “ISIS is a threat that must be stopped,” Braley said during a debate Sunday. “Anytime American citizens are attacked by a terrorist group, they need to be brought to justice or to the grave.”

Welcome to the party, pal.

Get a load of how quickly he rewrites history:

He even said he voted to give the president limited authority “to begin strikes against those in Syria and Iraq.” In fact, the resolution that passed Congress two weeks ago was to arm Syrian rebels. Braley’s campaign defended his comment by drawing a distinction between “strikes” and “airstrikes,” saying he was actually referring to the arming of Syrian rebels to fight militants.

He scotched his old position on U.S. combat forces in Iraq.

Tags: Bruce Braley , Democrats , ISIS , Iraq

How Many Times Was Obama Warned About an Islamist Takeover of Iraq?



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

FLASHBACK: Obama Administration, Day Three: Crocker, Odierno Warn About ‘Precipitous Withdrawal’ From Iraq

Whoopsie.

The United States underestimated the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, President Obama said during an interview, to be broadcast Sunday night, in which he also acknowledged the Iraqi army’s inability to successfully tackle the threat.

According to a transcript from Sunday’s “60 Minutes” on CBS interview, correspondent Steve Kroft referred to comments by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, in which he said, “We overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi Army, to fight.”

“That’s true. That’s absolutely true,” Obama said. “Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

Interesting pronoun, “they.”

Eli Lake:

Reached by The Daily Beast after Obama’s interview aired, one former senior Pentagon official who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq was flabbergasted. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bull****ing,” the former official said. . . . 

In prepared testimony before the annual House and Senate intelligence committees’ threat hearings in January and February, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the recently departed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the group would likely make a grab for land before the end of the year. ISIS “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah, and the group’s ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria,” he said.

Obama continued:

“Essentially what happened with ISIL was that you had al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash with the help of Sunni tribes. They went back underground. But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” he said. “And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

Isn’t this what all of those allegedly horrific warmongering Bush administration officials warned about? Didn’t we have an entire 2008 presidential campaign debating the consequences of a “precipitous withdrawal”? Didn’t Obama and his team assure us, over and over again, that they would manage the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq responsibly?

Vice President Cheney, November 21, 2005:

Would the United States and other free nations be better or worse off with terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi running Iraq? And would the United States be more or less safe with Iraq ruled by extremists intent on its destruction?

A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further the violence against free nations and a terrible blow to the future security of the United States of America.

President Bush, July 12, 2007:

I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

In fact, not only was Obama warned about this; he was literally warned about this on his first days on the job by Americans on the ground in Iraq.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, January 22, 2009:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Thursday warned against an abrupt American military departure from Iraq, saying “a precipitous withdrawal” could run severe risks.

“Al Qaeda is incredibly tenacious,” Ryan Crocker said of the Sunni insurgent group. “They will have to be killed or captured, and as long as they hang on, they are looking for the opportunity to regenerate.”

He added, “[If] we were to decide suddenly we’re done, they would certainly work to use space that opened up to do just that. I think it would encourage neighbors with less than benign intentions to carry them out, and perhaps most importantly I think it would have a chilling effect on Iraqis.”

The comments came one day after Crocker and Gen. Ray Odierno, head of U.S. forces in Iraq, spoke via teleconference with President Obama and other top military brass in Washington . . . 

“Taking a look back at when I arrived here in March 2007 and how it looked and felt then, [there's been] a really remarkable transition within Iraq itself,” he said.

“Neither the Iraqis nor we can take our eye off that ball, because as we tragically have seen, there are still elements out there, particularly al Qaeda, capable of delivering devastating attacks,” he said.

Can we please learn from this? Can we please learn that just because we want a war to be over, it doesn’t end? Can we please recognize that when the U.S. withdraws from a region without a rock-solid allied government to control and secure that region, bad things follow? Can we please accept that malicious forces will aim to kill and conquer, whether or not we’re “war weary”? Can we understand that just maybe some evil people in this world see our “war weariness” as an opportunity?

And can the American public please be more skeptical of the next guy who comes along and says he can keep us safe and more respected in the world just by using “smart, tough diplomacy”?

Tags: Barack Obama , Iraq , ISIS

What’s Wrong with the U.S.-led Air Campaign against ISIS?



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The brief version:

Keep an eye on the ball: the Iranian nuclear build-up is 1,000 times a greater threat than ISIS.

Tehran should be left to deal with this problem, which threatens its allies in Damascus and Baghdad, and potentially even Iran itself.

Pipes’s iron rule of war: Never initiate fighting unless prepared to do what is needed to win (i.e., don’t in advance rule out ground troops).

The search for moderate opponents to the Assad regime is chimerical.

Destroying oil-production facilities is almost always a mistake.

American efforts should be limited to (1) providing assistance to the Kurds and (2) humanitarian missions.

Tags: ISIS , Iran

The Economist on Obama in Iraq and Syria: ‘Mission Relaunched’



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For anyone who scoffed at my “Barack W. Bush” label of the president yesterday

Not the second term he (or anyone else) was expecting, huh?

Tags: Iraq , Syria , ISIS , Barack Obama

Barack W. Bush, Aiming to Dismantle the Network of Death!



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Finally, change we can believe in:

There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

“Don’t speak English, huh, ISIS? All right, let’s try a language you do understand.”

Obama later added, “Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can.”

Jonah offers a detailed assessment of Obama’s speech here. I’m a bit cheerier.

Before the United Nations, Obama pointed out that all too often, the “international community” isn’t worth a hill of beans:

Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so. And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.

The average foreign-policy wonk can speak at length about the differences among core al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda affiliates, ISIS, Boko Haram, and this new Khorosan Group. The average American looks at each group and sees . . . “Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . more Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . another group of Islamist maniacs who want to kill us . . . a different group of Islamist maniacs who want to kill us, and finally, Islamist maniacs who want to kill us.”

Here’s Obama today:

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day.

Notice the reference to “ideology,” singular, and “it,” not “they.” Despite their locations, their ideology is the same.

If you’ve ever complained that the Muslim community around the world is far too tolerant of homicidal maniacs acting in the name of their faith . . . here’s Obama today:

It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al-Qaeda and ISIL.

Look, we’re stuck with this guy as president for the next two years. I’d rather have Barack W. Bush than the guy golfing his way through his second term.

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS

America at War . . . Again . . . in a New Country This Time



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From the Morning Jolt:

America at War . . . Again . . . in a New Country This Time

This just handed to me: The ISIS morning staff meeting at the municipal building in Raqaa, Syria, is postponed indefinitely.

ISIS wanted our attention with those barbaric beheadings. Now they’ve got it.

The United States and five Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign against the Islamic State and at least one other extremist group in Syria for the first time early Tuesday, targeting the groups’ bases, training camps and checkpoints in at least four provinces, according to the United States military and Syrian activists.

The intensity of the attacks struck a fierce opening blow against the jihadists of the Islamic State, scattering its forces and damaging the network of facilities it has built in Syria that helped fuel its seizure of a large part of Iraq this year.

Separate from the attacks on the Islamic State, the United States Central Command, or Centcom, said that American forces acting alone “took action” against “a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” from the Khorasan group in Syria to disrupt “imminent attack planning against the United States and Western interests.”

Officials did not reveal where or when such attacks might take place.

Al Qaeda cut ties with the Islamic State earlier this year because the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, disobeyed orders from Al Qaeda to fight only in Iraq. Just days ago, American officials said the Khorasan group, led by a shadowy figure who was once in Osama bin Laden’s inner circle, had emerged in the past year as the Syria-based cell most intent on launching a terror attack on the United States or on its installations overseas.

The latest campaign opened with multiple strikes before dawn that focused on the Islamic State’s de facto capital, the city of Raqqa, and on its bases in the surrounding countryside. Other strikes hit in the provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, whose oil wells the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have exploited to finance its operations.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) launches Tomahawk Land-Attack Missiles (TLAM) against ISIL targets.

The good news is that the world has fewer ISIS members walking around this morning.

The bad news is that we’ve got a long way to go before we have anything resembling a reliable partner on the ground:

The army base in Iraq’s western Anbar province had been under siege by Islamic State militants for a week, so when a convoy of armored Humvees rolled up at the gate, the Iraqi soldiers at Camp Saqlawiyah believed saviors had arrived.

But this was no rescue attempt. The vehicles were driven by militants on suicide missions, and within seconds on Sunday the base had become a bloody scene of multiple bombings.

On Monday, a day after the attack, five survivors — including three officers — said that between 300 and 500 soldiers were missing and believed to be dead, kidnapped or in hiding. Army officials said the numbers were far lower, leading to accusations that they were concealing the true toll.

If the survivors’ accounts are correct, it would make Sunday the most disastrous day for the Iraqi army since several divisions collapsed in the wake of the Islamic State’s capture of the northern city of Mosul amid its cross-country sweep in June.

Here we go.

During the Ken Burns documentary series The Roosevelts, he mentioned that FDR, at the beginning of the war, after Pearl Harbor, prepared America for difficult times ahead. He noted that inevitably, there would be defeats, setbacks, and tragic losses. But he laid out why the fight was necessary, and why America could and would win.

I’ll stand and applaud our men and women in uniform as they take the fight to any foe, anywhere on earth. But I sure hope our president can and will prepare the public for the difficulties in the fight ahead.

Tags: ISIS , Syria , Iraq , Barack Obama

Senate Democrats: We Won’t Vote on War Until After the Election



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Of course:

Senate Democrats plan to debate and vote on a broad resolution authorizing military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the election, dodging the danger of angering liberal voters this fall.

CLUCK-CLUCK!

Above: Democratic senators emerge from the caucus room and announce their decision to postpone a vote on military action until after the election.

Tags: Senate Democrats , ISIS

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?

Great.

The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.

Welcome back to Vietnam, and General William Westmoreland’s experience:

Somewhere, some Baby Boomers are chuckling about what happens once you elect a president too young to have served in — or, it seems, remember — Vietnam.

Remember Obama’s boast, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” I guess he thinks he’s a better general than his generals and a better bomber than his bombers.

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book “Double Down: Game Change 2012” notes President Obama commenting on drone strikes, reportedly telling his aides that he’s “really good at killing people.”

Oh. So he really does think he’s an expert at killing people.

How the heck did we end up in this mess?

Through tight control over airstrikes in Syria and limits on U.S. action in Iraq, Mr. Obama is closely managing the new war in the Middle East in a way he hasn’t done with previous conflicts, such as the troop surge in Afghanistan announced in 2009 or the last years of the Iraq war before the 2011 U.S. pullout.

In Iraq, Mr. Obama had delegated day-to-day management to Vice President Joe Biden.

Oh.

Well, that explains a lot.

In other news, Mr. Vice President, look out for that bus!

Tags: Iraq , Syria , ISIS , Barack Obama , Joe Biden

Why Is Our President Thinking About What He Would Tell ISIS if He Were Advising Them?



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Why Is Our President Thinking About What He Would Tell ISIS if He Were Advising Them?

A strange presidential comment, revealed to the world Sunday by the New York Times:

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.

Why is our president thinking about what he would tell ISIS if he were advising them?

Does the president spend a lot of time thinking about this? Or did it just strike him as a fascinating little nugget of insight to share with a guest while discussing ISIS?

I can see the value in trying to understand the thinking of your enemy. I can see the value in thinking through an ultimatum to the group, contemplating what you’ll demand and what consequences to threaten. You can “offer advice” to a foe in the sense of, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

But Obama’s “if I was an adviser to ISIS” comment doesn’t sound like any of these — at least from the context that we’re given by the Times’s sources, individuals who have met with the president in the past week. It’s just, Hey, if I were advising the enemy, this is what I would have told them.

Okay . . . what’s the point? Why spend any time thinking about that scenario? Did ISIS call and ask for advice? They didn’t attach notes; they detached heads. That’s the choice they made. Now the question is what we’re going to do about it.

Notice Obama’s assessment presumes ISIS wants to avoid a U.S. military intervention. Is this a manifestation of the mirroring effect, where Obama projects its own values and priorities onto its foes? (Think about how often he insists publicly that seizing Crimea and moving into Ukraine isn’t in Russia’s interest, or that bellicose or provocative actions on the part of Iran aren’t in that country’s interest.) ISIS appears to want to send the message, far and wide, that they don’t fear a clash with the U.S. military. Perhaps they want to demonstrate that they can commit horrific crimes against American civilians with no serious repercussion. Maybe they think God wants them to do this. Maybe they’re nuts! In the end, the “why” matters less than the “what.”

Viewed from another angle, President Obama’s comment sounds like a complaint. If ISIS hadn’t beheaded Americans, there wouldn’t be such widespread demand for action against ISIS in the American public.

“If I were advising ISIS . . . ”

Well, you’re not, Mr. President. What, are you looking for another job? Some sort of freelance consulting gig on the job, when you clock out as Commander-in-Chief?

Walter Russell Mead:

It is probably true that a lower profile by ISIS would have made it more difficult to win support for airstrikes in the United States and around the world, but that’s hardly the point. ISIS is a master of the pornography of politics and the pornography of perverted religion: slave girls, heads on spikes, executions uploaded to the Internet, naked defiance in the face of its enemies. ISIS isn’t trying to win a conventional geopolitical chess match, it wants to electrify millions of potential supporters and change the nature of the game. The execution of American hostages succeeded brilliantly, from an ISIS point of view. It has made President Obama look weak, forced him to change his entire Middle East policy and brought the jihadi movement back into the world spotlight. The politics of spectacle has eclipsed Al-Qaeda, weakened Assad’s position, drawn the awe and admiration of jihadi wanna-bes and funders, and elevated 30,000 thugs and nutjobs to a major force in global events. Yes, that elevation carries with it the risk of serious pushback and even conventional military defeat, but jihadi ideology has benefited enormously from what ISIS has accomplished so far. ISIS still isn’t going to conquer the world, but radical Islam is closer than ever to launching the clash of civilizations of which bin Laden dreamed.

ISIS has much less money than President Obama does, many fewer fighters, much less equipment and in every other conventional measure of power it is a pipsqueak compared to the Leader of the Free World. But who is acting, and who is reacting? Who is dancing to whose tune?

Are we about to learn what happens when the United States goes to war with a commander-in-chief who doesn’t really want to go to war? A president who’s ordering a particular military action because he feels he has to in order to placate public opinion, but that he has deep doubts about? How can that possibly turn out well?

Josh Jordan: “Shorter Obama: If I were advising ISIS, I’d tell them not to execute Americans on video so I can keep pretending they aren’t a threat to us.”

Ladd Ehlinger Jr.: “Ah yes, I remember when FDR thought-experimented an advisorship position with Imperial Japan.”

Doug Powers: “Obama also probably would have advised ISIS to pin OFA donation envelopes and voter registration forms to the shirts of released hostages.”

Iowahawk to the president: “If you were advising ISIS, they would be bankrupt.”

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Syria , Iraq

Obama’s ISIL Policy and the Conservative Case for Opposing It



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I was too charitable initially. The more one thinks about Obama’s ISIL speech, the more appalled one becomes. The dismal-enough “ISIL is not Islamic” claim is not what we should concentrate upon. The real scandal is a basic absence of strategic thinking. Many, such as Bing West, more than confirm my suspicion that without special forces involvement on the ground, we cannot remotely hope to “destroy” or even to significantly “degrade” ISIL.  And we now learn that Obama received and rejected advice along these lines from the commander of CENTCOM. 

But the strategic incoherence is worse than that: As Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff points out, despite the talk in the speech of providing arms to the Free Syrian Army to help us fight ISIL, that’s not the primary purpose of that very weak and likely-pretty-pissed-at-Obama group. It’s primary purpose is to overthrow Assad, and more realistically, to simply survive. Why should it do much to help us hunt ISIL? Obama gave no indication that he is willing to protect it against Assad. Nor any indication of what the long-term U.S. strategy for Syria will be. 

Reports indicate that Obama’s implicit suggestion that the new Iraqi government is ready to fight ISIL in an effective and non-sectarian way is a shaky one, and reports show his claim to have already assembled a coalition of the willing contains more than a bit of bluster. Turkey said yesterday it was unwilling to let us use its air-bases, for example. 

And then there’s the sheer absurdity of Obama winding up this important speech by claiming that he’s rallied the world to defend Ukrainian independence, and that he “helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again.” Let’s let John Hinderaker, also of Powerline, parse that latter claim:

You might think this delusional, if you didn’t listen closely enough: Obama limited his claim to Syria’s “declared chemical weapons.” Within the last 24 hours, it has been reported that Syria used chlorine gas against civilians on numerous occasions in April. While it is still under investigation, it appears that Assad also gassed civilians last month. But–here’s the catch–Syria never “declared” its stockpiles of chlorine. Way to go, Barry! The most weaselly weasel would be proud of that one.

It’s not just weasel words about something deadly serious, but it also has the air of sheer fantasy. The man is apparently living in a foreign-policy Potemkin village of his own making.

And that’s the really frightening thing.  Regardless of how the debate about the present choices regarding ISIL goes, we have two more years in which the man who made this speech will be the primary mover of our foreign policy and our armed forces’ commander-in-chief. Every government and organization on the planet by now knows that the best opportunity for getting away with aggression against U.S. interests or allies, probably for decades to come, will be during the next two years. You’ll have a lame-duck (or nearly so) U.S. president who, despite certain appearances to contrary, is deeply unpopular and divisive, who nonetheless continues to toy with proposals and to block scandal-investigations in ways that may provoke an impeachment action; whose word on foreign-policy matters is not really trusted by anyone; who is hobbled by his close ties with an effectively isolationist left-wing; who has mixed relations with his key European allies; and best of all, who is himself a self-deluded and indecisive fool when it comes to strategic thinking.

We know in our bones that ISIL, if it is left to thrive, will deliver serious attacks upon us in the future. Hundreds, God forbid, maybe thousands, of Americans are going to die if this terror-state is not crushed now, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans that ISIL is going to wind up enslaving and murdering in the Middle East. (Of course, similar yet worse things could be said about Iran becoming able to produce nuclear weapons.)

So what are conservative and moderate-leaning Americans to do?  Will it be enough to raise our voices so as to get Obama to correct the errors in his strategy, while nonetheless demanding that our representative in Congress support the overall policy, the way the National Review editorial yesterday suggested? At least we will know our bombs will hurt ISIL somewhat. At least America will be seen as trying to harm the bad guys. Isn’t that the best we can hope for?

Or, must we instead conclude that we cannot responsibly support sending American servicemen and women into any new wars under this incompetent and untrustworthy commander? Especially under such a leader, a mission that from the outset omits the necessary means for its stated end must not be undertaken.

Allow me to toy with that second option for a bit.  What would a “retrenchment for now — given this leader” conservative platform on foreign policy say? I think the following:

1) Unless Obama actually sends front-line fighting special forces to help our air-forces target ISIL, and makes a promise to stay with the mission until the end of his term, there should be no Republican support in Congress for the action. If Obama is unwilling to agree to these (and perhaps other) necessary provisions, Republicans should openly oppose the air-strike campaign in every way short of denying it funding in ways that expose our pilots to greater risk. Highlight each and every violation of the War Powers Act as a violation of existing law, regardless of our opinions about its constitutionality. Make the argument that wounding a deadly enemy, instead of killing or thoroughly maiming him, will provoke sympathy for him and increase the likelihood of his effectively attacking us.

2) Repeatedly demand that Obama seal the border with emergency measures.

3) Call upon Obama to promise Putin that we won’t send troops or arms to fight him in the Ukraine, and that under no circumstances will we support its joining NATO or the E — if Putin wants the mess of economic warfare with the EU and a prolonged insurgency war in Ukraine, that’s his bed to lie in. Simultaneously establish forward NATO bases in the Baltic States — thereby breaking existing promises not to.

4) The Republican Congress should openly warn Putin that no matter what degree of division they get into with Obama over the next two years, up to and including impeachment, they will stand by him in defending all NATO members from every sort of attack, and will insist that he do so. Similar warnings, perhaps less public, should be sent to Chinese leaders with respect to our commitment to our allies Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

5) Denounce the Obama timeline for withdrawing from Afghanistan, but do not make opposing it a major focus of a Republican Congress.

6) Demand that arms, aid, and advisors be sent to the Kurdistan Regional Government no matter what (well, short of it supporting independence for the Kurds in Turkey, which it likely has the wisdom to refrain from). 

7) If Obama goes through with the preemptive air-only war against ISIL, exert pressure to send more advisors to and plan more air sorties with Kurdish forces.  If Baghdad fails to step up, so be it and let the Kurdish forces be the ones to hold any territory taken from ISIL, perhaps to use as a bargaining chip in future Iraq-partition talks.

8) Demand stronger Obama threats against the Iranian nuclear policy, and back him to the hilt on these.

It’s an ugly policy. It means a willingness to tolerate Putin invading the Ukraine(which I would admittedly advise in any case), Assad remaining in power, and much else.  It even means letting ISIL remain in place, if Obama intransigently refuses to cut a deal, for two years.  As indicated above, that might mean a heightened risk of ISIL attacking the homeland. Politically, it would mean some congressional votes made in alliance with members of the “anti-war” left. 

What it says is that we can have little confidence in engaging in serious wars under this president, while simultaneously warning potential aggressors not to take advantage of this situation.  His confusion is not ours.  The weakness he conveys with his words is something of an illusion, as there is more to the American republic than him.  If you dare to try to take advantage of our political discord by crossing the lines indicated, we will put aside our differences with him in an instant.

You can tell I’m attracted to such a platform.  I suppose its main slogan could be “No War without a Plan for Victory!” But its big problem now is that the public knows something real has to be done about ISIL, and it will be inclined to interpret serious Republican resistance to Obama’s policy as irresponsible obstruction of that need. Larry Kudlow makes the case for supporting the president’s plan, and in just such a November-tuned political way.  Still, I sure don’t see how we can responsibly get behind a plan this incoherent, combined with a commander-in-chief this clueless and an American public that remains pretty viciously divided (thanks, Dems!) about all matters Iraqi.

May God help us, and turn our president’s eyes towards some adequate measure of wisdom. I say this prayer with his truly dangerous Big Amnesty plan in mind as much as this ISI -plan, because my fear is that a simultaneous occurrence of domestic and international chaos is just around November’s corner.

But in preparation for the possibility that God will not answer this prayer, and with the need to decide soon upon us, perhaps some of you can tell me whether Republicans should support the president’s present ISIL plan or not.  I’m leaning strongly towards no.

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIL , ISIS , war

The Sneaking Suspicion That Obama Doubts His Own Decision



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From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

The Sneaking Suspicion That Obama Doubts His Own Decision

Here’s what I fear is going through the president’s mind right now:

I don’t want to do this. I’m supposed to be the peacemaker president. I didn’t become president to start wars.

I’ve been telling people for years that there is no military solution to the problems in Iraq. Now somehow I’ve ended up telling people that I have a military solution for that and Syria.

We don’t have any reliable allies on the ground. There are at least fourteen different rebel groups, and they keep splitting into smaller groups, each one with a new name, and all of them sound the same. In March, a bunch of them formed the “Sham Legion.” Just perfect. I’m supposed to go out and tell Americans, ‘Hey, let’s give a bunch of weapons to the Sham Legion.’

This assumes that the Sham Legion or the Fake Brigades or whoever don’t just drop their guns and run away, leaving ISIS even more American weapons to use. Why can’t the Iraqis get their act together? We spent years and billions training the Iraqi army and they collapsed in their first real fight. I just went out and promised to do more training. Another couple hundred American soldiers over there, hoping to teach them how to fight. Is ISIS just going to sit and wait while we finish the training? Here’s the first lesson, guys. Stop throwing down your guns and running away.

Where the hell are our allies? I’m the exact opposite of Bush. I’ve talked about the importance of the multilateral approach until I’m blue in the face. You would think that in exchange for being consulted early and often, our allies would be more eager to help. Instead, every time I ask Susan Rice if the Germans are on board, all I hear is mother-blankers this and mother-blankers that. She did it while Rahm Emanuel dropped by and he asked her to tone down her language. It’s almost as if most of our allies don’t really mean it when they complain about not being consulted, like they just want to sit back and wait for somebody else to solve the problem.

Egypt, Jordan and Turkey have been screaming the loudest about ISIS, but now that we’re coming to do something, they’re tepid and not willing to make commitments. Heck of a job, Kerry. You know who’s most warmly welcoming the U.S. arrival? The Assad regime in Damascus. Those bastards.

I can’t shake the feeling ISIS loves the idea of us coming after them. They’re probably going to use some version of the Hamas playbook — provoke a fight with a more powerful, more technologically advanced foe, hide among civilians, play up any civilian casualties, and then declare yourself the winner once the bombardment ends.

Nobody wants to help. We’re trying to bomb an army, in the kind of “whack-a-mole” policies I used to criticize. The Democrats in Congress don’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole. The Republicans will pounce on anything that goes wrong. The whole thing’s a distraction from what I really want to do with my remaining two years . . . 

In short, I think Obama has talked himself into a policy that he doesn’t really want to see through to the end. Which means that once it starts to go wrong — check Byron York for five ways this could go very wrong — President Obama will start having doubts. The moment flag-draped coffins start coming back to the United States, the public’s doubts will start to grow. Opportunistic politicians will read from Obama’s 2004 anti-war playbook.

Read the following and then ask yourself how long until you start hearing the word “quagmire”:

In Iraq, dissolved elements of the army will have to regroup and fight with conviction. Political leaders will have to reach compromises on the allocation of power and money in ways that have eluded them for years.

Disenfranchised Sunni tribesmen will have to muster the will to join the government’s battle. European and Arab allies will have to hang together, Washington will have to tolerate the resurgence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias it once fought, and U.S. commanders will have to orchestrate an air war without ground-level guidance from American combat forces.

“Harder than anything we’ve tried to do thus far in Iraq or Afghanistan” is how one U.S. general involved in war planning described the challenges ahead on one side of the border that splits the so-called Islamic State.

But defeating the group in neighboring Syria will be even more difficult, according to U.S. military and diplomatic officials. The strategy imagines weakening the Islamic State without indirectly strengthening the ruthless government led by Bashar al-Assad or a rival network of al-Qaeda affiliated rebels — while simultaneously trying to build up a moderate Syrian opposition.

Then Obama will want to undo this policy as quickly as he can. What happens when the United States tries to withdraw from a war “counterterrorism operation” in Iraq the second time?

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Iraq , Syria

Another Part of Our Recent History to Remember Today



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We remember how the 9/11 era began today, and the emotions are still fresh and strong, 13 years later.

But that was only one part of the story.

Take a good look, ISIS. You never know when the U.S. Navy SEALs are at your door.

Tags: ISIS , al-Qaeda , 9/11

A TIME OF CR-ISIS



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From the Morning Jolt:

A TIME OF CR-ISIS

This president is still walking around with an oversized sense of his own popularity, political capital, and public trust. He still thinks that if he says “we will do X,” people will believe him.

He’s capable of giving a good speech — well, reading from a teleprompter with the right tone, facial expressions, and mannerisms — but very few people, at home or abroad still expect dramatic action to follow dramatic words. The Obama pattern is clear: Big promise, lousy results. Too many lines instantly pop into the minds of viewers. Red line. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” We’re going to arm the moderate Syrian rebels. “New tone.” “Assad must go.”

Just because Obama says it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.” Well, that will be nice if it happens. As @CuffyMeh put it, “We will chase ISIS to the end of the earth as long as it doesn’t involve actually touching the earth.”

And as we’ve noted, Obama periodically offers comments that suggest he’s out to lunch. The world is safer than it was 20 years ago. We know more about trouble overseas because of social media.

Obama’s numbers are terrible — and that’s because of three things: Beheadings on Americans’ televisions, the idiotic “we don’t have a strategy” declaration, coupled with the subsequent statement that ISIS was a problem to be “managed.” You can throw in the “JV team” as another key element of the deep unease with this administration’s terror-fighting abilities. (The Osama bin Laden raid sure feels like a long time ago, huh?)

The president and his administration insist upon calling the group “ISIL”, preferring the term “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” As Chuck Todd said, they don’t like to refer to Syria in this context. This is a silly word game in hopes for political spin.

Last night I enjoyed the chance to briefly speak to Brit Hume in the Fox News offices. “He’ll speak about ISIS as if they appeared out of nowhere like Godzilla,” Hume predicted.

David Frum makes the very solid point that by attacking ISIS, we are helping the Iranian regime, the Assad regime in Syria, and Hezbollah. He points out that the Obama administration is ignoring this embarrassing situation, and hoping the American public doesn’t notice it. Indeed, it is a pretty remarkable and revealing aspect of the Obama administration that apparently no one on that foreign policy all-star team even thought about using the carrot of anti-ISIS action as leverage against the Iranians.

Frum’s whole argument opposing military action is almost persuasive . . . except for the detail that ISIS has killed Americans and has made clear its intent to kill more Americans.

The John Wayne-Ted Nugent-Toby Keith-Andrew-Jackson-Early-Frank-Miller-Batman-Papa-Bear-Author-of-a-book-titled-Voting-to-Kill side of me says that whenever anybody anywhere in the world kills an American for being an American, we’re obligated to rain hellfire down upon them, oftentimes in the form of a literal Hellfire missile.

But the 2014 version of me recognizes something the 2004 version didn’t: If you openly broadcast that philosophy, a lot of people are going to kill Americans just because they want to fight the lone remaining superpower. Everybody wants to be the man that shot Liberty Valance. Every aspiring terrorist wants to be the one who punched the Great Satan and lived to tell the tale.

And let’s face it, there are a lot of groups in this world that killed Americans and escaped much consequence. The barracks bombers of Lebanon. We hit Qaddafi, but only before Lockerbie, not after. The Iranians had a hand in Khobar Towers; we only exposed the names of their agents. We’ve caught one Benghazi attacker. Syria basically ran a superhighway for insurgents in Iraq, and the Iranians helped the insurgents, too. We still don’t know who we can trust in Pakistan. (Perhaps America has taken vengeance in some covert manner, to be revealed to a future generation.)

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger, and . . . well, you know.

Deterrence requires consequences. The world doesn’t lack people who enjoy killing Americans, and while we can debate “root causes” and “why do they hate us” as long as we like, we’re not likely to talk them out of it any time soon. (Does it seem like the Chinese don’t have this problem as much? The Russians? Is it that nobody’s really afraid of crossing us?)

So we have to respond. We have to punish aggression, wickedness and brutality when it targets our fellow Americans. But, as presidents are fond of saying, we must deal out that punishment “at a time and place of our choosing.”

Tags: ISIS , Barack Obama

Sorry Mr. President, ISIS Is 100 Percent Islamic



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In a televised address on how to address the Islamic State this evening, President Barack Obama declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.”

In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”

None of the three has any basis for such assertions. To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not. As Bernard Lewis, a leading American authority of Islam, notes: “It is surely presumptuous for those who are not Muslims to say what is orthodox and what is heretical in Islam.”

Indeed, Obama compounds his predecessors’ errors and goes further: Clinton and Bush merely described certain actions (treatment of women and children, acts of violence against innocents) as un-Islamic, but Obama has dared to declare an entire organization (and quasi-state) to be “not Islamic.”

The only good thing about this idiocy? At least it’s better than the formulation by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (known as CAIR) which has the nerve to call the Islamic State “anti-Islamic.”

In the end, though, neither U.S. presidents nor Islamist apologists fool people. Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that the group is indeed profoundly Islamic. 

Tags: Obama , ISIS , Islam

Today’s Important Message: You Should Not Live in Fear.



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Today’s Important Message: You Should Not Live in Fear.

Are Americans safer from Islamist terror? We sure as heck don’t feel that way.

The nation is on edge in the wake of brutal beheadings of journalists by Islamic extremists — with more Americans saying the United States is less safe now than at any point since 9/11, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll shows.

The exclusive poll reveals that 47% of Americans believe the country is less safe now than before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. That’s a significant increase from even a year after the twin towers fell when in September 2002 just 20% of the country said the nation was less safe.

In my piece on NRO today:

Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, seems less concerned. On Monday, he declared on CNN’s New Day that the United States doesn’t have intelligence indicating there are any active plans for a terrorist attack ahead of the 9/11 anniversary. “No, we don’t have any information about credible planning for an attack,” Royce said.

“Any time you get around a major anniversary in the minds of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, that can be a time of increased concern and intelligence monitoring,” said Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “We know they’re so fixated and obsessed on those particular dates. Given that it’s coming up on 9/11, we know there are operational activities, both al-Qaeda and this new threat matrix of all these al-Qaeda affiliates. Some have aspirations to do Western attacks, some have capabilities to do Western attacks, all of that just makes the challenge all the more difficult for the agencies we charge with stopping terror attacks.”

If you’re feeling anxiety . . . don’t.

Not because the threat isn’t real, but because you are not meant to live in fear. There have been 4,747 days since 9/11. In that time, the bad guys have managed a few hits but only a handful on the home front. Fort Hood. The Boston Marathon bombing. The LAX counter shooting. The Arkansas recruiting office shooting.

They’ve also had some near-misses: The underwear bomber flying into Detroit. The 2010 Times Square bombing attempt.

If you’re living outside the homeland, you’re at a higher risk, but again, for most of those 4,747 days, the good guys have kept the bad guys bottled up or stymied.

The odds are in your favor today, and every day. A lot of dedicated men and women are working around the clock to keep you safe. There’s not much left for us to do, other than point out an unattended bag or if we see someone behaving suspiciously, tell a cop.

That NBC News/WSJ poll also found:

According to the poll, 61 percent of American voters believe that the United States taking military action against ISIS is in United States’ interest, versus 13 percent who don’t. (Another 24 percent said they don’t know enough to have an opinion.)

That’s a significant change when a similar question was asked last year about the U.S. taking possible action against Syria’s government after its reported use of chemical weapons.

Back then, only 21 percent said action was in the nation’s interest, while 33 percent said it wasn’t.

Tags: Terrorism , ISIS , Ed Royce , Mike Rogers

‘Steve Sotloff and James Foley Would Tell Us, Don’t Be Impulsive’



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Perhaps this is what Cory Gardner needs in Colorado:

In the course of an hour-long debate with Gardner in Grand Junction, Colo., Udall said that “ISIL does not present an imminent threat to this nation.” He cited his membership on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee to substantiate that assertion, and he even invoked the names of the American journalists murdered at the hands of the Islamic State in the course of his pleas for restraint.

“I can tell you,” Udall said, “Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, don’t be impulsive. Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive, come up with a plan to knock ISIL back.”

How do the Sotloff and Foley families feel about Senator Udall invoking their sons as his supporting allies in this debate?

Tags: Mark Udall , Cory Gardner , ISIS

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