Tag Archives: Obama

Opponents say Obama will need ground troops against ISIS

Chris Carroll, Start and Stripes

Conservatives pushed back Thursday against President Barack Obama’s contention that the United States can stabilize Iraq without committing U.S. troops to a ground combat role in the country.

In a speech to the nation Wednesday night, Obama outlined a strategy that called for increased U.S. air attacks in support of Iraqi forces, coupled with increased training of the Iraqi military. The president said 475 additional troops would be sent to support the more than 1,000 others already on the ground in noncombat roles.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., dismissed what he called Obama “minimalist” plan to the defeat Islamic State insurgents with the focus on air power. McKeon predicted that even in an advisory role, U.S. troops would likely need to do more, including fighting alongside Iraqi units, helping them with logistics and communications, and aiding in holding ground taken from the Islamic State, group also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

“American boots will be standing on sand. Americans will be shot at, and they will be shooting back,” McKeon said in prepared remarks to an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. “There’s simply no other way to do this.”

He noted that U.S. reliance on airpower alone in the NATO campaign against the late Moammar Gadhafi had failed to bring stability once the Libyan leader was gone.

“We tried that in Libya, and it hasn’t worked,” he said.

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Critical Reading from Andrew McCarthy

A Mismanage-able Problem
Obama’s belief that he can “manage” the Islamic State may collide with reality.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

President Obama says he intends to shrink the al-Qaeda-spawned Islamic State into a “manageable problem.” Perhaps we’ll learn more about how when he speaks to the nation on Wednesday evening. Still, the question presses: Is he the manager for the job?

In answering that question, past performance is more a guarantee of future results than is any statement of newfound purpose from a president whose innate dishonesty has turned his signature phrase “Let me be clear” into notorious self-parody.

In late September 2012, Mr. Obama’s administration quietly approved the transfer of 55 jihadist prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. As Tom Joscelyn explained at the time, most of the detainees had previously been categorized as “high risk” because they were deemed “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies” if released. Almost all of the rest had been assessed “medium risk” — still posing a threat, albeit one less certain than the “high risk” jihadists.

But Obama officials overruled those judgments. Rife with members of the Lawyer Left vanguard who had stampeded to volunteer their services to al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush years, who had smeared Gitmo as a gulag, and who had fought bitterly against the Bush/Cheney paradigm that regarded al-Qaeda’s jihad as a war rather than a crime wave, the administration determined that the anti-American terrorists were fit to be sprung from American custody.

Wait a second . . . two years ago in September . . . what was going on then? Why yes, the Benghazi massacre — whose second anniversary we mark this Thursday.

The Obama administration would like us to forget that bit of old news since “dude, this was like two years ago.” You may nonetheless recall it as an act of war in which al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists attacked a sovereign American government compound. The terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya, killed three other Americans, and wounded many more in an eight-hour siege during which President Obama declined to take any meaningful responsive action. Indeed, agents of the U.S. security team in Benghazi say they were prevented from trying to save Ambassador Stevens.

Among those carrying out the attack were operatives of Ansar al-Sharia. That’s the al-Qaeda affiliate with cells in Eastern Libya’s jihadist hotbeds, Benghazi and Derna. Ansar is led by Sufian Ben Qumu, a former Gitmo detainee who, inexorably, went right back to the jihad.

News of Obama’s approval of the mass transfer of Gitmo detainees came less than two weeks after the Benghazi massacre. Let that sink in: The Obama administration knew that a former Gitmo detainee was complicit in the most humiliating defeat suffered by the United States since the 9/11 attacks that took the nation to war; yet, the president approved the transfer of dozens more Gitmo terrorists. Just as, only a few months ago, he approved the transfer of five top Taliban commanders even as the Taliban was (and is) continuing to conduct terrorist operations against American troops in Afghanistan.

Shocking, yes, but how surprising from Barack Obama? Mind you, this is the president who, though AWOL (and still unaccountable) while terrorists were killing and wounding American personnel in Benghazi, had the temerity not just to fly off to a Vegas fundraiser the very next day but to pick that setting, and that moment, to declare victory: “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.”

Yes, bin Laden is dead. But the terrorist hordes chanted, “Obama, we’re all Osama!” as they torched our embassies and raised the black flag of jihad — the flag the Islamic State vows to fly over the White House. And just two days after Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” fundraiser, Ansar al-Sharia’s Tunis cell attacked the American embassy there. That al-Qaeda franchise is led by Seifallah ben Hassine, long-time jihadist confidant of bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some path to defeat.

Of course, the Benghazi massacre would never have happened had Obama not switched sides in Libya, dumping the Qaddafi regime — theretofore an American counterterrorism ally — and partnering with Eastern Libyan jihadists. The president’s strategy ensured that enemies of the United States would acquire much of Qaddafi’s arsenal, empowering jihadist cells throughout North Africa and the Middle East, growing al-Qaeda and what would become the Islamic State. And as we have seen in just the last few weeks, Obama’s “lead the jihad from behind” strategy has resulted in the near complete disintegration of Libya, with Ansar al-Sharia and its allies now controlling much of Tripoli.

Nor is that all. Hours before the Benghazi attack began on September 11, 2012, there had been rioting at the American embassy in Cairo. It was stoked by al-Qaeda leaders — including Zawahiri’s brother, Mohammed. The latter had called for attacks against the United States to avenge the recent killing of the network’s leader in Libya. The al-Qaeda leaders had also been threatening to besiege the embassy to extort the release of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S. on terrorism charges. These jihadists had been enabled in their incitements against America by the Muslim Brotherhood–controlled government — a government the Obama administration had pressured Egypt’s military leaders to make way for.

When the Left says it intends to make the challenge of international terrorism “manageable,” that is usually code for saying it wants to return counterterrorism to the law-enforcement paradigm, in which terrorism is a crime addressed by indictments. Crime — petty theft, graft, racketeering, and the like — is a constant that society manages. National-security threats, on the other hand, cannot be indicted into submission. And they are not “managed” by imagining that if we ignore them they will go away.

President Obama probably does believe the Islamic State could become a manageable problem. Unfortunately, he also believes that when his ideology collides with reality, it is reality that must give. Reality does not see it that way.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.

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Help Award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the Heroes of United Flight 93

Please sign my petition to the White House to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the heroic passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.  These brave souls were the first to fight back against terrorism on September 11, 2001, and spared the nation from further devastation on that tragic days.

You can sign the petition by clicking HERE.Image

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A Tale of Two Future Presidents

A Tale of Two Future Presidents

That’s about all I have to say about that.

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November 5, 2013 · 5:19 pm

On the Tenth Anniversary of PEPFAR

GOOGLING PEPFAR

There are 18 million Google hits for the search term “twerking.” Yes, that abomination of a dance move (at least I think that’s what it’s supposed to be) made forever infamous via a gratuitous and depraved performance by a former Disney starlet. 18 million.

 

That’s 18 times as many hits as there are for the search term “PEPFAR.”
I know what you’re thinking: what’s PEPFAR? Well, as they say, my point exactly.

PEPFAR is the acronym for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and it just recently celebrated its tenth year of activity in Zambia and continues to succeed in fighting the pandemic throughout the world. It began with a five-year commitment from the United States of $15 billion — an unprecedented and stunning total. And unlike most government programs, the money has been effectively spent. To date, PEPFAR has…(Read the rest HERE)

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I’ve said it before…no shame in this Administration

Obama White House Hosts Sheikh Who Called for Killing American Troops in Iraq

President Obama’s top national security advisers have just hosted Sheikh Abdulla bin Bayyah at the White House. As vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in 2004, bin Bayyah endorsed a fatwa calling for the killing of American troops and other personnel serving in Iraq.

Bin Bayyah is the principal deputy to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief sharia jurist and the driving force of the IUMS. In addition to being behind the 2004 fatwa, Qaradawi also promotes suicide bombing against Israel. The IUMS strongly supports the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas, the terrorist organization designated as such under American law. Indeed, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh – a close ally of both Qaradawi and Turkey’s Islamic supremacist prime minister (and Obama fave) Recep Tayyip Erdogan – was welcomed into the IUMS as a member in 2004. As detailed here on other occasions (see, e.g., here), Hamas’s charter explains that the group’s imperative to destroy Israel is an Islamic obligation, and it cites authoritative scripture – frequently repeated by Qaradawi – stating that the world will not end “until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: ‘O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’”

News of the White House meeting with bin Bayyah was broken last night by Steve Emerson and John Rossomando of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The meeting took place at the Obama administration’s request, according to an account of it posted – along with a photo – on bin Bayyah’s website. Since its original posting, the account has been edited to omit mention of Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon’s participation.

This marks a new low for the administration that, in brazen violation of U.S. counterterrorism law, previously invited a member of the Blind Shiekh’s terrorist organization for consultations at the White House.

Notably, bin Bayyah lobbied the administration to “take urgent action” to help the Syrian “rebels” (i.e., the factions opposing the Assad regime, which are dominated by Islamic supremacists and violent jihadists – more accurately described as the Syrian mujahideen than as “rebels”). As Emerson and Rossamondo observe, President Obama has since announced plans to arm the Syrian opposition.

Emerson and Rossamondo’s full account is very much worth reading. So is the take offered by Patrick Poole at PJM. Patrick elaborates on Emerson/Rossamondo’s assertion that this is far from the administration’s first consultation with bin Bayyah.

The enemy is not at the gate. He has long since skipped across the welcome mat.

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My Latest for the Huffington Post

 

 

 

 

 

No Shame in this Administration

It’s always difficult to discern just where President Obama stands on the topic of national security. From his reluctance to say that acts of terrorism were committed by, well, terrorists, to his condemnation of the conditions at Guantanamo Bay while far exceeding President Bush’s use of drones (including strikes against U.S. citizens), and up to his association with actual terrorists (Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn), his position is, at best, a hard read. But his appointment of Susan Rice to the post of National Security Adviser is a good indicator that national security is not a top priority.

 

Susan Rice became a household name last September when she appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to sell a bill of goods to the American people. Asked about the roots of the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans — including an ambassador — dead on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, she told Bob Schieffer, “What our assessment is as of the present is in fact … it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where of course as you know there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.” Yes, that’s right Ambassador Rice, YouTube was to blame.

 

Well, we later learned that the White House knew within hours of the attack that the assault in Benghazi was a terrorist attack against the United States without any connection to the “hateful video” that Rice cited. It’s clear now that the Obama Administration did not want to risk fallout on its reelection efforts just weeks before the voters went to the polls in November.

 

Rice likely accepted the role with the hope that she would be rewarded with a nomination to head the State Department after Hillary Clinton’s imminent departure. All signals pointed in that direction, but her obvious and now famous prevarications on national television about so important a topic led to intense pressure on the president to remove her from consideration for Foggy Bottom. So again, Rice fell on her sword and withdrew her own name from consideration.

 

But the day has finally arrived for payback, and it comes in the form of her nomination to the post of National Security Adviser. This, the president believes, is the perfect way to reward her. The vacancy was created by the resignation of outgoing NSA and former lobbyist Tom Donilon, by far the least qualified person to hold the post of any NSA in the last 20 years.

 

Donilon’s October 2010 appointment came at the heels of the departure of Gen. James Jones. Jones tenure as National Security Adviser was brief, having begun his service in this once vital role in January 2009. Gen. Jones brought impeccable credentials to the position of national security adviser. Raised for much of his formative years in France, he attended Georgetown where he was enrolled in its foreign service program. His 40-year military career was nothing short of remarkable: Commander of the U.S. European Command; Supreme Allied Commander for Europe; Commandant of the Marine Corps. One would be hard-pressed to craft even a fictitious resume for someone with better qualifications for the job. Despite this background, or maybe because of it, Jones didn’t last in the Obama administration.

 

In the fall of 2010, Bob Woodward published Obama’s Wars, in which he wrote that Donilon, whose previous experience included a stint as VP with Fannie Mae but precious little by way of national security, was once disparaged by his predecessor, who criticized Donilon’s lack of overseas experience. Jones told directly, “You have no credibility with the military.” Worse, according to Woodward, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates became so offended by remarks made by Donilon that he nearly walked out of a meeting and later predicted that Donilon would be a “disaster” as Obama’s NSA.

 

It seems that despite a recent uptick in terrorist attacks against American interests, President Obama still doesn’t view the job of National Security Adviser to be one requiring any sort of credibility, least of all when it comes to, ironically, maintaining the security of the nation. If Rice doesn’t last in the role — and with the fog of Benghazi still very much casting a pall over the White House this is a real possibility — it will be interesting to see who Obama picks next. Maybe Lois Lerner will be interested.

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Benghazi Hearing: Hicks ‘stunned’ at Rice explanation

Deputy Chief of Mission Hicks said it best about Susan Rice’s statements on the Sunday morning talk shows in which she perpetuated the lies about Benghazi: “My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.  Someone must be held accountable for the Obama Administration’s purposeful lies about the terrorist attacks on our Ambassador and three other Americans on 9/11/12. — AA

(Guardian UK)

A top US official who was in Libya during the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi has given the first public account of the event.

Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, said he was “stunned” by UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments that the attack was spontaneous.

He also told lawmakers he received a phone call from US Envoy Christopher Stevens, just before he died.

Three other Americans were killed in the attack on 11 September 2012.


Start Quote

My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed”

Gregory Hicks on his reaction to Susan Rice’s comments

During several hours of emotional testimony before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday, Mr Hicks described the moment he was informed of the attack.

He said he was in Tripoli watching TV when he received a phone call from Ambassador Stevens.

“Greg, we’re under attack,” the ambassador reportedly told Mr Hicks by telephone before the line cut.

He later received a phone call from the Libyan prime minister informing him of Ambassador Steven’s death.

“I think it is the saddest phone call I have ever had in my life,” Mr Hicks said.

After the disrupted phone call with Ambassador Stevens, Mr Hicks said he received calls from Libyans using the ambassador’s phone who said they had the envoy with them.

But Mr Hicks decided not to act on the calls, fearing an ambush.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice has been the focus of outrage from Republicans in Congress, for giving the news media what has been acknowledged as an incorrect explanation for the attack.

She said on a Sunday chat show on 16 September that the attack had grown out of an anti-US protest, while other officials have said they knew at the time it was an organised, armed assault, possibly by an Islamist militant group.

“My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.

Some Republicans accuse the White House of hiding information about the attack, while Democrats say the issue has become politicised.

The BBC’s Jane O’Brien in Washington says Wednesday’s testimony will do nothing to dispel Republican concerns that President Barack Obama tried to cover up a terrorist attack in the run-up to a presidential election.

Democrats will continue to say there was no attempt to mislead the public, our correspondents adds.

‘Need to evacuate’

At Wednesday’s hearing, Mr Hicks expressed frustration with the lack of a US military response during the night-time attack, saying one could have deterred a second assault.

The Pentagon has said nothing could have been done to assist the Americans in Benghazi.

Mr Hicks and two other state department employees criticised an official review undertaken after the attack, saying many people with first-hand knowledge of the event were not interviewed and it focused too much on lower-ranking officials.

The review found that poor leadership and management in two state department teams led to a security plan that was “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place”.

Mr Hicks told the panel he spoke to people at the State Department and to Libyan officials, and had a conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton around 02:00 on the night of the attack.

“Secretary of State Clinton called me along with her senior staff… and she asked me what was going on. And I briefed her on developments,” Mr Hicks told congressmen.

“Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens. It was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in Benghazi, and I told her that we would need to evacuate. She said that was the right thing to do.”

The ambassador died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped in the burning consulate building, after armed men stormed the compound.

State department employee Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty also died in the attack.

Mrs Clinton angrily defended her handling of the Benghazi raid in a series of hearings on Capitol Hill in January.

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Rubio Blasts Obama’s Immigration Plan

Only this president would oppose increased border security.  There’s no logic to this administration; we’re facing a major problem over the number of illegal aliens in the country, yet he is opposed to fixing the problem at its root.–AA

Hours before President Obama is set to deliver a major immigration speech, a key Republican senator blasted the president for reportedly opposing a requirement to shore up border security before legalizing up to 11 million illegal immigrants. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of four Republican senators involved in a bipartisan effort to craft immigration reform legislation, warned the president Tuesday against taking such a position. It was the first sign since the senators unveiled their guidelines a day earlier of friction between the two efforts. 

“I think that would be a terrible mistake,” Rubio told Fox News. “We have a bipartisan group of senators that have agreed to that. For the president to try to move the goalposts on that specific requirement, as an example, does not bode well in terms of what his role’s going to be in this or the outcome.” 

Rubio, a prominent conservative who is also Hispanic, is vital to the bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill. The senator, though, insisted that illegal immigrants not be allowed to obtain green cards — let alone citizenship — “until the enforcement stuff is in place.” 

“If that’s not in the bill, I won’t support it,” he said. 

Rubio was responding to reports that Obama, who is traveling to Las Vegas Tuesday to outline his immigration reform vision, does not want to make the legalization process contingent on increased border security. 

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Senate should extend lifelong protection for former presidents

As of last week, I’m now contributing columns to TheHill.com on its Congress blog.  Hope you like this piece and will follow my work there (and here, as ever). 

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December 10, 2012 · 11:25 am