Monday, June 30, 2014

Russian arms, anti-aircraft likely used against Ukrainian aircraft, says US General

From the AFP:
Pro-Russian separatists likely used weapons supplied by Moscow to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft in recent weeks, NATO's top commander General Philip Breedlove said Monday.

Russia was maintaining a large troop presence near Ukraine's border and had provided anti-aircraft weapons and other hardware to the rebels, Breedlove told a Pentagon news conference.

"What we see in training on the east side of the (Ukrainian) border, is big equipment, APCs (armored personnel carriers), anti-aircraft capability . . .and now we see those capabilities being used on the west side of the border," the general said.

A Ukrainian military cargo plane was shot down on June 14, killing 49 people on board, and a Ukrainian helicopter was downed last week, leaving nine troops dead.

Breedlove said the Russian military had more than seven battalion-sized task groups and "numerous" special operations forces deployed near the border.

"That's not a helpful development," he said...

Breedlove, the supreme allied commander of NATO, said the crisis illustrated the need to avoid any further cuts to US forces in Europe.

"As far as force structure, I don't think we can take any more reductions," he said.
Gen. Breedlove was discussing the "program reductions that" the Obama administration had planned for Europe.

"We should now pause and determine, should we continue with any of the program reductions that are in the plan for Europe?..." Breedlove said. "As far as force structure, I do not think we can take any more reductions."

Obamas' deafening silence: Kidnapped Israeli, American boys found dead

The bodies of three Israeli teenagers, who were kidnapped by Hamas operatives over two weeks ago, were discovered in the West Bank on Monday. Sadly, despite the fact that one of the teenagers held dual Israeli-American citizenship, President Obama never issued a public statement on the matter until today, after the boys were found dead. Nor did he demand their safe return.

Likewise, Michelle Obama, who used her twitter account in May to plead on behalf of a group of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, remained silent after the teenage boys - one with dual Israeli/American citizenship - were abducted.

Apparently, the First Lady felt that speaking out on behalf of the teenage boys was not in her best interest and that it would not give her the same PR boost as her BringBackOurGirls tweets. The President, apparently, felt the same way.

But, as Breitbart noted a couple of weeks ago:
The sad truth is that the United States is [actually] funding the kidnappers of these boys, including an American citizen.

It is currently illegal to fund any organization connected with Hamas. Nonetheless, the Obama administration is doing it after the formation of a unity government between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas; $400 million American taxpayer dollars will go to that entity in violation of law. 18 US Code Section 2339B demands:
Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life...
And although [one of the kidnapped teens] is an American citizen, we apparently do not have a policy of bringing every American citizen home.

Supreme Court: Employers Don't Have to Cover Birth Control

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that closely held, for-profit companies can claim a religious exemption to the Obamacare requirement that they provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives, NBC News reported.

President Obama has consistently portrayed birth control as a health issue. But the Supreme Court didn't take issue with that twisted portrayal. Rather, the court took issue with a different Obamaism, namely that corporations are not people and thus they can not exempt themselves from providing their employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives.
The Obama administration argued that the freedom of religion applies only to the company owners individually, not to the for-profit corporations they run. It's the corporations, not the family members themselves, who are required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives under Obamacare, the government said...
The court, in a 5-4 ruling, apparently rejected that sophistry.

CNN noted that the court's decision will have no real effect on contraceptive coverage because ultimately, by hook or by crook, birth control will be subsidized by American taxpayer dollars:
The practical result will likely be an administrative fix by the Obama administration that subsidizes the contraceptives at issue, said CNN political analyst Gloria Borger.

"So in terms of a real gap in medical coverage for these women, should they want it, I think what you are going to see is the government sort of picking up where Hobby Lobby would leave off," Borger said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest signaled as much, telling reporters the Obama administration will work with Congress to ensure women affected by the ruling will continue to have coverage for contraceptives.
The AP reported that:
Supreme Court Judge Samul Alito suggested two ways the administration could deal with the birth control issue. The government could simply pay for pregnancy prevention, he said. Or it could provide the same kind of accommodation it has made available to religious-oriented, not-for-profit corporations.

Those groups can tell the government that providing the coverage violates their religious beliefs. At that point, creating a buffer, their insurer or a third-party administrator takes on the responsibility of paying for the birth control. The employer does not have to arrange the coverage or pay for it.

Insurers get reimbursed by the government through credits against fees owed under other provisions of the health care law.
So, ultimately birth control will be covered via the government or via some form of government subsidized medical insurance, and women need not worry about catching the dreadful pregnancy disease, a dangerous, but preventable illness.......

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mexico says Tahmooressi's honest mistake unacceptable, but Mexico's 300 dishonest mistakes acceptable?

Mexican authorities arrested U.S. Marine sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi three months ago after he mistakenly took a wrong turn and crossed the Mexican border. However, with President Obama unwilling to make the minimal effort necessary to obtain Tahmooressi's release, the hapless US Marine sergeant is still languishing in a Mexican jail.

It was an honest mistake on Tahmooressi's part, but apparently the Mexican authorities believe that only they are entitled to make honest mistakes, even nearly fatal honest mistakes, despite the fact that, over the last decade, Mexican authorities have made at least 300 of these dubiously "honest mistakes":

From the LA Times:
Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed over into U.S. airspace [on Thursday] and fired two shots near U.S. Border Patrol agents, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.

The incident prompted a quick apology from Mexican authorities in what is the second incursion this year of Mexican forces into U.S. territory, officials said.

The incident occurred about 5 a.m. Thursday in southern Arizona about 100 yards north of the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said, while Mexican authorities were tracking and trying to apprehend about 45 people in a drug operation as the suspects were attempting to cross into the United States.

No one was injured after the shots were fired near the town of San Miguel, Ariz., the officials said.

According to a statement by U.S. officials, Mexican authorities quickly apologized and said the shots were a “mistake.”

In January, two heavily armed Mexican soldiers crossed into Arizona near the same spot and drew their weapons on U.S. Border Patrol officers there. No one was injured in that incident.
And while Mexican authorities claim that the incident on Thursday was an honest mistake, Newsmax reported on Friday as follows:
This is not the first time members of Mexican law enforcement crossed the U.S. border without permission.

In a written response to a request from Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Department of Homeland Security stated that there have been a total of 300 documented incursions by Mexican military and law enforcement authorities since Jan. 1, 2004. Of those incidents, 152 involved armed subjects.

Hunter, a California Republican, believes the number misrepresents the actual number of incursions and criticized the DHS for "a clear lack of consistency among DHS in handling these incidents, especially in cases of unauthorized incursions with armed authorities."
300 documented incursions by Mexican military and law enforcement authorities can not possibly be honest mistakes!

Rep. Hunter - who has been working tirelessly to obtain Andrew Tahmooressi's release - was quoted by Fox News on Friday as saying:

"It's ironic that Mexico says it acted accidentally in this case, and they ask we accept an apology, when they refuse to acknowledge an authentic mistake on Andrew's part."

"There are mistakes and there are excuses," Hunter added. "Andrew's actions were the result of a wrong turn, a simple mistake. Mexico is just making an excuse and no different than the border incursions that are too regular, U.S. officials should approach this incident with absolute seriousness."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

US Economy Shrank 2.9% in first quarter, worst drop since '09

The U.S. economy shrank at a steep annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the fastest rate of decline since the first quarter of 2009, the US Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The agency initially reported in April that the economy had expanded at a 0.1 percent rate in the first quarter of this year. The Commerce Department later revised that estimate in June and said that the economy actually shrank by 1 percent. But today the agency revised that number a second time and said that the US economy had actually taken a 2.9 percent nosedive.

The difference between the agency's second and third revision was the largest on records since 1976.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Obama could swap some more Gitmo detainees for the Nigerian hostages

President Obama, last month, cunningly advanced his goal of emptying out the Guantanamo Bay detention center by using the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban custody as a pretext to release five senior Taliban Gitmo detainees as part of a prisoner swap. Likewise, the President has another opportunity and pretext right now to free some additional Gitmo detainees by offering them up in exchange for some of the hostages who've been kidnapped in Nigeria by the Boko Harem terrorist group.

Breitbart reported on Tuesday that Boko Harem has once again gone on a kidnapping spree:
Militant Islamist group Boko Haram abducted 91 individuals during raids into several Nigerian villages over the weekend. Witnesses told the AP that married women were taken along with their children, who range anywhere from three to fifteen years of age...

A local official said on condition of anonymity, "More than 60 women were hijacked and forcefully taken away by the terrorists.”... Others said as many as 30 were killed in the mass abduction...

On April 15, members of the radical Islamist group abducted over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls at their boarding school in Chibok.
Clearly, these kidnappings provide the President with a new pretext, and another golden opportunity, to free some additional Gitmo detainees in exchange for the Nigerian hostages. And, while it may be true that Boko Harem, in all likelihood, has little interest in the Taliban detainees, nevertheless, even the most remote effort to facilitate both the closing down of Gitmo and the release of all Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees is worthwhile. It's worth the effort!

Bottom line: While it is true that U.S Navy admiral and commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, William McRaven, believes there is a strong need for a long-term detention & interrogation facility, like Gitmo, the President must nevertheless seek out all avenues - even the most remote and unlikely avenues - to empty out, and close down Gitmo, for good.

I repeat once again on behalf of the President: By hook or by crook, all Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees must be released from Gitmo as soon as possible!

Also, it is imperative that Michelle Obama stay persistent in her #BringBackOurGirls twitter campaign; for ultimately only a successful twitter campaign has the power to defeat the terrorists!

A couple of twitter posts and instagrams from Michelle Obama and her political PR advisers is certainly not enough! Michelle definitely needs to put a lot more heart into this thing. And, if she needs more money to purchase additional placards for her instagram tweets, there are plenty of people who would be willing to chip in for the expenses......

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Boehner: Wheels are coming off the Obama Presidency - Video Parody

During his weekly press briefing on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner sharply criticized President Obama on a number of issues, including the administration's proposed energy tax, the missing IRS emails, the VA debacle, the dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied minors that are crossing the US' borders, the terrorist surge in Iraq and the recent prisoner exchange in which five senior Taliban commanders were released from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Mr. Boehner started out by saying, "The American people are still asking the question, ‘where are the jobs?,’ while the administration’s working on their national energy tax that’s going to destroy American jobs."

Addressing the latest revelations concerning the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, the House Speaker said that, "The White House promised to cooperate" in the IRS investigation, "but did nothing."

Mr. Boehner added that the President called the IRS scandal a phony scandal, "yet who could possibly believe" that the White House "lost two critical year’s worth of email" that is critical to the IRS investigation.

On the recent Taliban prisoner swap, Mr. Boehner asserted that, "The White House thought the American people were going to cheer when the president released these terrorists. I think [the President's] misreading of the American people is fairly shocking."

Concerning the dire situation in Iraq, the House Speaker said that, “The White House has known for months about the situation in Iraq. When you look, it’s not just Iraq, the spread of [global] terrorism has increased exponentially under this president’s leadership.”

As I noted in the previous post, in the five years that Barack Obama has been President, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide increased by more than 150%!

“And," Mr. Boehner concluded, "as you may recall, after the last election, I said that I hoped that the president would seize this moment and take the lead. And here we are, a year and a half later, you look at this presidency and you can’t help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Islamic State in Iraq, Ukraine, Rise of Global terrorism, Is this "Change We Can Believe In?"

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] is currently making significant inroads in Iraq as a result of President Obama's stubborn refusal, in 2011, to leave behind a residual force of US troops in the country. In Ukraine, the situation is also steadily deteriorating. And all across the globe, terrorism is on the rise.

The number of terrorist attacks around the globe has rapidly increased in just five years, according to the IHS Jane's 2013 Global Terrorism & Insurgency Attack Index. "In 2009, a worldwide total of 7,217 attacks were recorded from open sources. In 2013, that number increased by more than 150% to 18,524." There was a 40% increase in terrorist attacks worldwide last year compared to 2012. Which begs the question: Is this the kind of "Change" that Barack Obama promised to bring about during his 2008 Presidential campaign? Is this "Change we can believe in?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Abu Khattala and the cowardliness of Obama; What took so long?

Abu Khattala, a senior member of the Benghazi branch of the terror group Ansar al-Sharia, and one of the terrorists who participated in the deadly attacks in Benghazi in 2012, was apprehended by U.S. forces on Sunday, nearly two years after the attacks.

Mr. Khattala's involvement in the Benghazi attacks had become public knowledge shortly after the attacks.

The New York Times reported in October of 2012 as follows:
Libyan authorities have singled out Ahmed Abu Khattala, a leader of the Benghazi-based Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, as a commander in the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, last month, Libyans involved in the investigation said Wednesday. Witnesses at the scene of the attack on the American Mission in Benghazi have said they saw Mr. Abu Khattala leading the assault.
And yet, despite the public knowledge of Mr. Khattala's involvement in the Benghazi attacks, for nearly two years after the attacks, Mr. Khattala roamed the streets of Benghazi freely and conducted interviews with the New York Times, Reuters, CNN and other news outlets without fear of retribution from the Libyan government or the Obama administration.

In October of 2012, the New York Times interviewed Mr. Khattala, and reported as follows:
Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping [mango juice] on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.
The Times later issued the following correction:
An earlier version of this article misidentified the beverage that Ahmed Abu Khattala was drinking at the hotel. It was a strawberry frappe, not mango juice, which is what he had ordered.

That same month, Reuters also interviewed Mr. Khattala, and reported:
Abu Khattala told Reuters he... was surprised that officials had told journalists he was at large.

"These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding," he said. "But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I'm even going to pick up my sister's kids from school soon."

Sitting with a friend in the restaurant of a Benghazi hotel, the 41-year-old, sporting a red felt hat and a full salt-and-pepper beard, laughed gently."
The obvious question arises: If Mr. Khattala was roaming the streets of Benghazi both freely and openly, why did it take so long for the Obama administration to apprehend him? According to CNN, US officials claim that Khattala "went into hiding last year after a flurry of media interviews that seemed to mock any U.S. manhunt for him." However, that excuse rings hollow because as late as October 29, 2013, The Times of London interviewed Mr. Khattala, which means the Obama administration had, at the very least, 13 months to apprehend him.

So why didn't the Obama administration nab him?

The answer in a few short words: Obama is a coward who knows only one thing: Appeasement.

The more detailed answer, however, is as follows:

In the October 2013 Times of London interview with Mr. Khattala, The Times reported as follows:
Libya's most wanted man is 1.88m tall, has a grey beard, wears a long brown sheepskin abaya coat, has a thin scar on the left-hand side of his temple. He appears to have the flu.

Given his status as a fugitive and the gravity of his alleged crime - involvement in the killing of the US ambassador - it might be expected Ahmed Abu Khattala would go to ground in a safe house.

Yet, as Abu Khattala, 42, pours a cup of green tea and offers me a tray of biscuits, he gazes thoughtfully from the sofa in his home in a street barely 10 minutes' drive from the centre of Benghazi...

Despite his "wanted" status, the manner of our meeting could scarcely be more blatant... There is no go-between, no guide waiting at a midway rendezvous to escort me to a clandestine meeting place.

Instead, Abu Khattala steps from his home on to the street in broad daylight and leads me inside his house...

"The Lord knows what would happen in Libya if I was taken away," he muses. "This act would win the Americans more enemies, and they would fall."...

Wanis Bukhamada, the head of Libya's special forces appointed as chief of security in Benghazi a fortnight ago, confirmed Abu Khattala's claim the two men regularly talk, an admission that articulates the rift between Washington and Tripoli. "I often meet with Abu Khattala," he said. "We call each other. We have no problems with one another. There is nothing issued against him by the state, no warrant, no information concerning a crime, so why should he be my enemy?"

Instead, Mr Bukhamada expressed concern at the prospect of a US raid to snatch Abu Khattala... A "US raid would cause things to go out of control," he added. "There would be a lot of retaliation. You couldn't tell what might happen."
And therein lies the answer: President Obama's reluctance to arrest Abu Khattala was due to the fact that he feared, in typical cowardly fashion, that such a move would upset both the terrorist groups operating inside Libya and the terrorist-infested Libyan government that Obama helped put in place.

The New York Times repored on Monday:
Officials briefed on the investigation have said for more than a year that a plan to capture Abu Khattala was on Obama’s desk awaiting approval. But the administration held back, in part for fear that a U.S. raid to retrieve him might further destabilize the already tenuous Libyan government.
In October of 2013, I noted that U.S. officials [Obama administration cronies] told CNN that, "the White House became worried any raid in Benghazi [to apprehend Mr. Khattala] could destabilize, and potentially bring down the fragile Libyan government."

Hence, for nearly two years after the Benghazi attacks, Mr. Khattala and his Ansar al-Sharia buddies roamed the streets of Benghazi freely. Why? Because Obama feared that the chaotic situation that he helped create in Libya would only get worse if he dared to apprehend the bad guys.

Which begs the following questions: Why did Obama finally decide to arrest Mr. Khattala? And, from where did Obama get the courage to apprehend him?

Answer: In recent weeks, a renegade and retired Libyan general by the name of Khalifa Haftar has declared war against Ansar al-Sharia and the February 17 Martyrs Brigades - the group that was tasked with guarding the US consulate in Benghazi, but ultimately colluded in the deadly attacks - and other militant groups in Benghazi. Mr. Haftar and several volunteer army units are waging a fierce offensive against the militant groups, and they are acting in defiance, and without the authorization, of the Libyan [terrorist-infested] government.

Hence, with Mr. Haftar and his allies already waging a steady, and heavy, barrage of attacks against Ansar al-Sharia, President Obama, who loves to lead from behind, was able to muster up the courage to defy Ansar al-Sahria, and to arrest Mr. Khattala. Moreover, with the country currently engulfed in fierce fighting, and with Mr. Haftar and his allies already openly defying the Libyan government, the prospect that Mr. Khattala's capture might destabilize an already destabilized country, and weaken, and cripple, an already weakened and crippled government, was no longer a factor.

Hence, Obama suddenly summoned the courage to apprehend Mr. Khattala.

And, it is quite possible that, under the current turbulent circumstances, Obama might also muster up the courage to apprehend some of the other terrorists who were involved in the Benghazi attacks.

Mr. Khattala, no doubt, must be unhappy with Mr. Haftar's recent offensives, which ultimately facilitated the apprehension of Mr. Khattala. On the flip side, however, during the two-year period following the Benghazi attacks, Mr. Khattala was able to roam the streets of Benghazi freely, without fear of retribution - and for that, he owes a huge debt of gratitude to President Obama - because I can't think of any other US President that would have allowed Mr. Khattala the same kind of freedom.

Poll: Overwhelming majority of Americans dissatisfied with Obama administration's handling of Benghazi attack; believe the administration has been dishonest about Benghazi; oppose the President's efforts to close down Guantanamo Bay prison

In a new CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday, poll respondents were asked the following question:

"As you may know, in 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in a town in Libya named Benghazi and killed the U.S. ambassador to that country and three other U.S. citizens. Based on what you have read or heard, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the Obama administration has handled this matter?"

60% of the respondents said they were dissatisfied, while only 37% said they were satisfied. 4% had no opinion.

The poll respondents were also asked the following question: "When it comes to providing information about the Benghazi attack, do you think the Obama administration has generally been honest or dishonest?"

61% of the respondents said the administration has been dishonest when it comes to providing information about the Benghazi attack, while only 37% said the administration has been honest . 2% had no opinion.

H/T to Guy Benson who also points out that, in a Gallup poll that was conducted between Jan. 5-8, an overwhelming majority of the respondents expressed opposition to President Obama's efforts to close down the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The poll respondents were asked the following question:

"As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists in a prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Do you think the United States should - or should not - close this prison and move some of the prisoners to US prisons?"

66% of the respondents opposed the President's plan and said that, no, the United States should not close the prison and move some of the prisoners to US prisons, while only 29% supported the President's plan and answered the poll question in the affirmative. 5% had no opinion.

Bear in mind that the aforementioned polls, which reflect negatively on Obama, were conducted by CNN and Gallup, two organizations that lean heavily to the left..........

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kerry: US 'open' to working with Iran over Iraq, despite thousands of US troops who were killed in Iraq by Iranian-backed insurgents

Despite the role that Iran played in prolonging the US military mission in Iraq, and despite the thousands of US troops who were killed in Iraq by Iranian backed insurgents, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would not rule out possible military cooperation with Iran to counter the current Sunni insurgency inside Iraq which was created as a result of President Obama's irresponsible and inept policies.

Asked on Monday about possible military cooperation with Iran, Kerry said, "I would not rule out anything... We are open to any constructive process here..." We are "open to discussions" with Tehran, Kerry said.

U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna reportedly discussed the crisis in Iraq on Monday during separate negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.

The Washington Free Beacon noted on Monday:
As far back as 2007, Iran was accused by U.S. military officials of “training Iraqi insurgents to attack coalition forces in Iraq,” according to reports at the time...

Iran was then caught in June 2008 facilitating the passage of grenade launchers and bomb-making material to Iraqi insurgents.

That same year the Justice Department indicted a cohort of foreign nationals for funneling weapons to Iran. These arms were traced to deadly attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

In May 2009, a large weapons stockpile was discovered along the Iran-Iraq border. The weapons cache, which included explosives and rocket launchers, was tied a Shiite militia purportedly trained and armed by Iran.

Similar reports of Iran arming Iraqi insurgents and attempting to destabilize the government emerged in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Nevertheless, when asked on Monday about possible military cooperation with Iran, Sec. Kerry said: "I will not rule out anything..." "We are open to any constructive process here..." We are "open to discussions" with Tehran.

However, later in the day, the White House and Pentagon Press Secretaries insisted that there was no plan to coordinate military activities between the United States and Iran.

But of course, the phrase "coordinate military activities" is a tricky one, for it is possible for the Obama administration to support Iran's military activities without the US and Iranian militaries technically coordinating with one another. Moreover, most Iranian combatants, terrorists and militants are not typically official members of the military, hence coordinating with them would not technically be the same as coordinating with the Iranian military, if you catch my drift...........

Federal Student Loan Debt increased over a half trillion dollars since Obama took office in '09, a 517% increase

From CNS News:
Since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the cumulative outstanding balance on federal direct student loans has jumped 517.4 percent.

The balance owed as of the end of May was $739,641,000,000.00. That is an increase of $619,838,000,000.00 from the balance that was owed as of the end of January 2009, when it was $119,803,000,000.00, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Earlier this month, Obama announced new executive actions to allow five million student-loan borrowers to cap their monthly payments at 10% of their income...

During President George W. Bush’s time [eight years] in office, the amount of outstanding loans increased from $67,979,000,000.00 in January of 2001 to $119,803,000,000 in January of 2009, an increase of 76.2%. This means that under President Obama - [in the five years plus that Obama has been in office] - the amount of federal direct student loans increased 579% more than under [eight years of] President Bush

Obama administration released al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq

The current chaos in Iraq can be attributed to President Obama's inaction and to his actions.

As I noted last week, President Obama refused to retain a residual force of US troops in Iraq in 2011 when the country was mostly calm and peaceful, after the US military had routed Al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed insurgents. The end result of the President's decision, and his inaction, was the emergence of the insurgency that is currently strangling the country.

However, it is President Obama's actions that have actually created the current insurgency in Iraq, as Front Page Magazine aptly notes.

Front Page starts off by elaborating on the point I had made last week:
On October 22nd, 2007, Osama bin Laden admitted in an audio tape, entitled “Message to the people of Iraq,” that al Qaeda was losing the war in Iraq because it had made mistakes and no longer had the allegiance of Sunni insurgents who had switched sides. When Barack Obama became president on January 20, 2009, the war in Iraq was essentially won. The al Qaeda-backed insurgency was reduced to smoldering embers. George W. Bush’s surge had succeeded.
Front Page then goes on to say:
Safely behind bars at the time was Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, an al Qaeda-linked point man who was imprisoned at Camp Bucca in Iraq, after being captured by U.S. forces in 2005. According to a Pentagon assessment at the time, al Baghdadi “would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.”

However, the Obama administration decided to shut down the Bucca prison camp and hand over its prisoners to the Iraqi government, including Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, in 2009. The Iraqi government later released him. Al Baghadi boasted to the U.S. soldiers who had held him prisoner, “I’ll see you in New York.”

The release of al Baghadi and other jihadist insurgents from the Bucca prison, coupled with President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 rather than follow the military’s advice to leave a residual force behind, turned the smoldering embers of the once defeated al Qaeda-backed insurgency into a raging out-of-control conflagration.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has re-emerged to become the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)... ISIS in recent days has taken control of large portions of northern and western Iraq including Iraq’s second largest city Mosul. ISIS freed at least 1,000 militants held in prisons in Mosul, adding more jihadists to its swelling ranks. It has looted hundreds of millions of dollars from northern Iraqi banks and taken sophisticated military equipment left behind by fleeing Iraqi soldiers...
That's right, Obama's actions, namely his decision to hand over al Baghdadi and his fellow prisoners to the Iraqi government - which subsequently freed the thugs - in essence, created the current insurgency in Iraq.

But Obama apparently has a penchant for transferring terrorist detainees to other governments, despite the inherent danger entailed in such handovers. He also has a penchant for freeing terrorist detainees, especially Gitmo detainees.

Earlier this year, the Afghan government released 65 Taliban fighters from a former U.S. prison that had been transferred over by the Obama administration to Afghan control. The release of the fighters came despite the objections of US military personnel who said that the terrorist detainees were "directly linked to attacks killing or wounding 32 U.S. or coalition personnel and 23 Afghan security personnel", and that the terrorists would likely return to the battlefield to kill even more NATO and Afghan troops.

And, last month, the Obama administration freed five senior Taliban commanders from Gitmo in exchange for US army deserter Bowe Bergdahl. I noted at the time as follows:
The President has sought all avenues, pretexts and excuses to free all detainees currently held in Gitmo, so that he could fulfill his pledge to close down the facility... President Obama's zeal to shut down Gitmo is well-known. Hence, it is no surprise that the Obama administration... released 5 "high-ranking", senior terrorists from Gitmo in exchange for the release of US marine Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl..

A senior administration official told CNN, "The transfer of these individuals is not a concession -- it is fully in line with the President's goal of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."

The senior administration official - perhaps unwittingly - revealed the truth, namely that the release of the five terrorists from Gitmo was not a concession on Obama's part. Quite the contrary, Obama has desperately sought any pretext to free any and all Gitmo detainees so that he could eventually close down the facility and boast that his campaign pledge to shut down the facility was not an empty promise. Bergdahl's release allowed the President to free 5 more Gitmo detainees and avoid scrutiny. Hence, there was no concession on the President's part; quite the contrary, releasing the five Gitmo detainees, pretext and all, was a wish, and a dream, come true for Obama...

Sadly, many detainees who've been released from Gitmo in the past have rejoined their terrorist comrades and have gone on to kill even more US and NATO troops.

Many Gitmo detainees have been repatriated to other countries where they've been placed either in a prison or a rehab facility for a brief period of time before being released to the wild to inflict more human casualties...
Likewise, the Obama administration handed over Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and his fellow prisoners, to the Iraqis who subsequently released them into the wild, where they are now wreaking destruction upon the entire country.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Boehner: Obama taking a nap while Insurgents take over Iraq and march to Baghdad

"They're 100 miles from Baghdad, and what's the president doing? Taking a nap."
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday commenting on President Obama's Idleness as al-Qaeda-inspired insurgents continue to take over major cities in Iraq while vowing to march on to the capital, Baghdad.

ABC News reported on Thursday:
As al Qaeda-linked terrorists wreak havoc across Iraq, House Speaker John Boehner unloaded on President Obama for ignoring the escalating crisis there, contending that the president has been “taking a nap” while the situation rapidly deteriorates.

“It's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of Western Iraq. Now they've taken control of Mosul. They're 100 miles from Baghdad,” Boehner, R-Ohio, fumed. “And what's the president doing? Taking a nap!”

Earlier this year, on Jan. 9, Boehner publicly urged Obama to “maintain a long-term commitment to a successful outcome” in Iraq, and called on the president to “get engaged.”...

Criticizing President Obama for negotiating an unprecedented prisoner exchange of five ranking Taliban for POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Boehner said the trade “has encouraged” U.S. enemies and increased risk to military and civilian personnel serving around the globe.

“Those who would argue the opposite, I think, are incredibly na├»ve,” Boehner said.

On Thursday, Boehner said the administration’s failure to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq “continues to have serious consequences for Iraq and American interests in the region...”

Boehner cited the administration’s “failed policies” in Syria, Libya and Egypt... “He continues to endanger our troops and citizens with his failed foreign policies,” Boehner said. “We need to elect a Congress that not only has the will to stop the president, but the power to do so, as well.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hagel reassures Congress: Freed Senior Taliban commanders merely directed deadly operations against US, but, like Bin Laden, they did not actually pull the trigger

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured lawmakers on Wednesday that the five senior Taliban commanders who were freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison last week in exchange for US military deserter, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, merely directed deadly operations against US forces, but like Osama Bin Laden, they never actually pulled the trigger that killed Americans.

We appreciate that comforting thought, Mr Hagel. Thank you.

From Fox News:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel [during a House Armed Services Committee hearing] on Wednesday sought to ease concerns about the controversial swap of five hardened Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl...

Hagel... tried to downplay the risk inherent in the exchange, claiming the former Guantanamo detainees were planners, and had not directly participated in attacks on Americans.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., quickly pointed out that Osama bin Laden was also a planner. "Bin Laden didn't pull a trigger...," McKeon said....

[Hagel] said there was "no direct evidence of any direct involvement in their direct attacks on the United States or any of our troops," though they were combatants and "part of planning."

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, asked him to clarify.

"So your point was they didn't pull the trigger, but they were senior commanders of the Taliban military who directed operations against the United States?" he asked.

"That's right," Hagel said.
"That's right." Heh....

It's sad, but comical nonetheless....

Gateway Pundit noted on Tuesday:
In remarks this weekend when asked to defend the release of five top Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay as part of the Bowe Bergdahl deal, Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back on the idea that the Taliban leaders who were released would make any difference to the fight.

“We are ending our combat role. Our combat role in Afghanistan is over.”
Our combat role is over? But what about the 9,000 plus US troops who will remain in the country until 2016? And what about the Afghan security forces? Is their combat role over? And, while it's true that the combat role of the Afghan forces might eventually come to an end when they desert their posts and hand over their weapons to the Taliban, nevertheless, that scenario could still be a few years away.

Mr. Hagel also conceded to lawmakers on Wednesday that, "We didn't handle some of this [prisoner exchange] right... We could have done a better job of keeping you informed."...

Heh, of course they didn't inform congress of the decision because President Obama's sole purpose in this prisoner exchange was to further his goal, and to fulfill his pledge, to close down Gitmo by freeing every last detainee. And, the only way to do reach that politically-mired goal is to find any pretext, like the release of Bowe Bergdahl, that allows the President to bypass congress and to release the Gitmo terrorist detainees, by hook or by crook!

Related Post: Gitmo prisoner release, and pretext, a dream come true for Obama!

Conclusion: As sad and pathetic as the comments from Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel might seem, there is no denying that these two clowns are an incredibly hilarious duo and that they represent the very best that comedy has to offer. It's simply undeniable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A residual force of US troops in Iraq, and in Afghanistan - there's a huge distinction between the two

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) issued the following statement on the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seizing control of the Iraqi city of Mosul today:
“Our worst fears about Iraq are being realized today. The black flags of Al-Qaeda are flying over Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, just as they do over Fallujah.

"Al-Qaeda affiliated militants are now pressing their offensive into other parts of western Iraq and possibly beyond. This growing threat to our national security interests is the cost of President Obama’s decision to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq in 2011, against the advice of our commanders and regardless of conditions on the ground.

“Unfortunately, the President is now making the same disastrous mistake in Afghanistan, increasing the risk that Al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies will return there just as they are in Iraq. It is not too late for the president to reverse this catastrophic decision and instead make any withdrawal of U.S. forces after this year contingent on conditions on the ground.

"At the same time, we call on the president to explain to Congress and the American people how he plans to address the growing threat to our homeland and our national security interests posed by the rapidly expanding Al-Qaeda safe haven[s]."
President Obama is planning on retaining a residual force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, until 2016, when all US troops will be withdrawn from the country except for a military advisory group.

In 2011, the President refused to leave behind a residual force of US troops in Iraq; he even boasted about it and proclaimed triumphantly that he was withdrawing every last soldier from the country.

It should be noted, however, that there's a huge distinction between leaving behind a residual force of US troops in Afghanistan in 2014 and retaining a similar force of troops in Iraq back in 2011.

In 2011, the country of Iraq was mostly quiet after the US military routed Al Qaeda and the Iranian-backed insurgents. A residual force of US troops could have prevented a reemergence of the insurgency because, after all, it's a lot easier to prevent an insurgency from reemerging than it is to squash a full blown insurgency already in progress. But Obama stubbornly chose not to retain such a presence in Iraq.

However, unlike the sense of calm that existed in Iraq in 2011, the current situation in Afghanistan is much different. Violence in Afghanistan has not subsided at all; on the contrary, it has increased. Hence, there is no reason to assume that a residual force of US troops will have sufficient manpower to deal with the situation.

That's right, Afghanistan in 2014 is not Iraq in 2011.

A residual force of US troops in Iraq in 2011 could have maintained the calm and the peace. In Afghanistan, however, as US troops continue to facilitate the Obama-mandated pull out, i.e. the President's "exit strategy", no such calm exists, hence a residual force most definitely will not have the ability to create a peaceful and calm environment. A huge difference.

And, in 2016, when the residual force of US troops packs up and leaves Afghanistan, the situation will only get worse.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Obama: "The Bear is loose", Freudian Slip or unintended truism?

During the 2012 Presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Obama's weak posture toward Russia. Mr. Romney's criticism later intensified after the President was caught on an open mic telling then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have more "flexibility" to make [even] more concessions to Russia after the November 2012 election. Mr. Obama, however, responded mockingly to Mr. Romney's critique by asserting that the latter was "stuck in a Cold War mind warp."

The President also derided Mr. Romney during a debate in October of 2012, and told him: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

But sadly, Mr. Romney's critique of the President was spot-on, for ultimately, on a whole host of issues, including missile defense, arms reduction, Syria and Crimea, Obama has given his Russian counterparts plenty of flexibility, and plenty of room for them to make a mockery out of US foreign policy.

And, on Monday, President Obama inadvertently conceded that Mr. Romney was right.

Call it a Freudian slip, or an unintended truism if you will, nevertheless, for once in his life, Obama actually got it right!

The President and his chief of staff Denis McDonough slipped out of the White House on Monday and sauntered off to a nearby Starbucks where the President ordered a cup of tea to take back to the White House.

During his "Tea Party" excursion [pun intended], the President jokingly told one of his aides: "The bear is loose." Ostensibly, Mr. Obama was joking about his life in the so-called White House "bubble" and how he had managed, during his tea break, to escape briefly from the "bubble". But upon deeper reflection, the aforementioned "bear is loose" remark aptly describes Russia's status during the Obama Presidency and the extreme flexibility which has been given to Russia during the Obama Presidency. Bear in mind [pun unintended] that the bear is a symbol that has been widely used to represent Russia.

"The bear is loose," indeed.

A Freudian slip? Or an unintended truism?

No matter. The President deserves credit where credit is due, and, for once in his life, he actually got it right: "The bear is loose."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bergdahl & Obama the Perfect match? Bergdahl, a perfect spokesman for Obama?

A number of of US soldiers who served with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl - the US soldier who was released in a prisoner swap on Saturday - are calling Bergdahl a "deserter" whose "selfish act" resulted in the deaths of better men who previously tried to rescue him.

If Bergdahl did indeed desert his comrades, and, if reports are true that the Army Sgt., in a letter, once expressed a sense of shame for being an American, it would help explain why the Taliban kept him alive all this time.

Of course, the opportunity to obtain the release of five senior, "high-ranking" and "high-risk" terrorists from Gitmo might be enough of a reason for the Taliban to keep Bergdahl alive, however, the latter was held captive for nearly five years, and, for the Taliban, five years is an awful long period of time, and energy, to expand on keeping an American infidel alive.

It may seem ironic, but in truth, it is befitting for Obama that the one American captive, out of many, that he has managed to extract from enemy soil - albeit with a prisoner swap consisting of "high-ranking" and "high-risk" terrorists - might very well be a "deserter" who has bad feelings about this country. Befitting indeed...:
Many of those who served with [Bowe Bergdahl] -- veterans and soldiers... - call him a deserter whose "selfish act" ended up costing the lives of better men...

Former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009, said "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."...

Said Bergdahl's former squad leader, Greg Leatherman: "I'm pleased to see him returned safely. From experience I hope that he receives adequate reintegration counseling. I believe that an investigation should take place as soon as healthcare professionals deem him fit to endure one."...

According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera, and a diary.

At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

Many of Bergdahl's fellow troops... told CNN that they signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl's disappearance and the efforts to recapture him. Some were willing to dismiss that document in hopes that the truth would come out about a soldier who they now fear is being hailed as a hero, while the men who lost their lives looking for him are ignored...

Emails reported by the late Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone in 2012 reveal what Bergdahl's fellow infantrymen learned within days of his disappearance: he told people that he no longer supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.

"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bowe wrote to his parents. "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."

Bergdahl wrote to them, "I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.".

CNN has not independently verified the authenticity of the emails...

[An American] platoon went to the village where [some] children said the American [Bergdahl] had gone.

"Villagers said an American did come through the area and was wanting water and someone who spoke English," [said, Cody, a former member of Bergdahl's squad]. "Wanted to meet with Taliban."

Former Pfc. Jose Baggett, 27, of Chicago, was also in Blackfoot Company, and said he was close to two men "killed because of his (Bergdahl's) actions."

"He walked off," Baggett told CNN. "He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he's a traitor or he was kidnapped. What I do know is he was there to protect us and instead he decided to defer from America and go and do his own thing. I don't know why he decided to do that, but we spend so much of our resources and some of those resources were soldiers' lives."...

While searching for [Bergdahl], ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming. IEDs started being placed more effectively in the coming weeks. Ambushes were more calculated, cover and concealment was used," Cody tweeted.

On August 18, 2009, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker were killed by an IED in the search for Bergdahl. Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss was killed on August 26; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek were killed after being attacked in Yahya Khail District on September 4; Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey was killed September 5 by an IED at the Forward Operating Base, Sharana.

Moreover, other operations were put on hold while the search for Bergdahl was made a top priority, according to officers who served in Afghanistan in that time...

One soldier with the 509th Regiment, a sister unit of the 501st, told CNN that after Bergdahl disappeared, the U.S. Army essentially was told to lock down the entire province of Paktika. He described sitting in the middle of a field with his platoon, vulnerable, with capabilities and personnel mismanaged throughout the region. Different platoons ran out of water, food, and ammunition.

Two mortarmen -- Pvt. Aaron Fairbairn and Pfc. Justin Casillas -- were killed in a July 4, 2009, attack.

"It was unbelievable," the soldier said. "All because of the selfish act of one person."
Befitting, indeed.....

One US soldier writes the following account:
"We search everywhere, and can't find [Bergdahl]. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are... We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them...

His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities...

The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it....

Bergdahl is not a hero... He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday."
Bergdahl & Obama, the Perfect match? Bergdahl, the perfect spokesman for Obama? Should Bergdahl be appointed the new White House Press Secretary?

Befitting, indeed....

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