Category Archives: Military

Bokbluster Weekend NATO Editon

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Last week President Obama assured member nations that NATO would defend them. Meanwhile, terrorists frolicked by the pool at the abandoned American Embassy in Tripoli.

Not NATO

On Friday Ukraine signed a ceasefire agreement with Russian separatists. Ukraine isn’t a NATO member. The only American military assistance it received where Meals Ready to Eat. Still it was making progress against the separatists. That is until Russian tanks invaded.

The beheading of two Americans seems to have concentrated the country’s attention on the use of military force. Even Rand Paul wants to wipe out ISIS. He says he’s always been in favor of war if it’s in the national interest. How far does the national interest go?

Pretty far, according to Robert Kagan and Victor Davis Hanson. They both made the same point that when you withdraw military power bad guys fill the vacuum.

Brett Bair interviewed three CIA contractors who were on the ground in Benghazi when Ambassador Stevens was killed. They say their station chief told them to stand down. Eventually they defied orders and fought the terrorists, some of whom may now be poolside in Tripoli.

Degrade and Destroy

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Last week President Obama said he didn’t have a strategy for dealing with ISIL, the Islamist terror concern occupying large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Degrade and Destroy

This week he said he would “degrade and destroy” those same head sawing barbarians. Moments later he dialed that back, saying he would reduce ISIL to a “manageable problem“.

Just to keep things interesting Joe Biden vowed to  chase them to the gates of hell.

Daniel Henninger of the WSJ (you should get a one-time pass) thinks Obama believes America’s real enemies are the unmanageable, “ideologically rigid, anti-science” congressional Republicans.

JV Team

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Back when President Obama was bragging that core Al Qaeda had been destroyed, he dismissed ISIS as a terror JV team. Now the JV team is rich and armed with American military hardware. It controls territory in Iraq and Syria. And it’s as comfortable with social networking as it is with beheading.

Last week Defense Secretary Hagel had this to say about the JV team“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen” … “The sophistication of terrorism and ideology married with resources presents a whole new dynamic and paradigm of threats to this country.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dempsey added, ““This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated.” He also said ISIS would have to be attacked in Syria to be destroyed.

JV

By Monday it wasn’t clear that the White House was on board with Dempsey’s assessment.

Apocalyptic though it may be, Dempsey now says ISIS is not a “direct threat” to the U.S. and he won’t propose bombing in Syria until it is.

The president is evolving.

James Foley

140822 james foleyThe New York Times reported that ISIS wanted $130,000,000 ransom for James Foley. European countries have paid ransom in the past. It’s a major source of income for ISIS. The US policy is not to pay ransom for hostages, on the theory it encourages more hostage taking.

The same theory doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to swapping terrorists for American hostages. We gave up five of GITMO’s worst bad asses to bring home alleged deserter Private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl’s parents were flown in from Idaho to celebrate the joyous occasion with President Obama in the White House Rose Garden.

James Foley

James Foley met his grim fate with courage. His parents showed the source of that fortitude in their meeting with the media to discuss their son on the day of  his death.

Obama played golf.

National Guard in Ferguson

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Governor Nixon called in the National Guard to quell the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. The local police aren’t trusted by looters in Ferguson. It turns out the looters aren’t local either. Most of those arrested were not from Ferguson.

Why Ferguson?

Victor Davis Hanson wonders why some shootings spark violence and others don’t.

On average, more than 6,000 African Americans are killed by gun violence each year. That startling figure is nearly equal to all of the U.S. combat fatalities incurred in both Afghanistan and Iraq over some 13 years.

The violence usually begins with a white man killing an unarmed black man. In Trayvon Martin’s case the NYT described his killer as a “white hispanic”.

The media almost invariably distort the facts, sometimes deliberately seeking to incite tensions. In the Trayvon Martin case, journalists published photos of Martin as a diminutive adolescent, not more recent pictures of Martin as a 17-year-old who was much taller than (George) Zimmerman (Martin’s killer)… In the Brown case, the media has rushed to portray the victim as a “gentle giant” who was almost certainly gunned down by a racist, trigger-happy cop… NBC edited a recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call to police in a way that suggested Zimmerman was a racist.

Next up for blame are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panther party.

Almost immediately, they incite tensions by issuing wild, unfounded charges. Jackson said of the Martin shooting that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.” Jackson just called the Brown shooting a “state execution.”

Then come the politicians cashing in for advantage.

…usually in ways that only make things worse. Libertarian senator Rand Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, blamed the police for their overt military appearance and their crowd-control tactics. Yet street violence still persisted days after police in military-style riot gear were pulled from the scene — until finally there were requests for National Guard intervention.

Finally we get racial finger pointing.

Liberals acknowledge high black violent-crime rates but cite poverty, racism, and unfair police enforcement as the catalysts. Conservatives counter that high rates of single-parent families, dependence on government entitlements, and glorification of misogyny and violence in popular culture account for inordinate black violent-crime rates.

And the country becomes more divided.

Meanwhile, we might remember that the American experiment to unite various racial and ethnic groups into one culture is as noble as it is rare in history. When it has previously been tried in the modern world — Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Iraq, Rwanda, Syria, Congo — it usually has failed spectacularly.