The Border Is Not Our Only Weakness UPDATED

ABC News reported yesterday that three Afghan military officers who were in the United States for a joint military mission have disappeared on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The article reports:

They arrived in the country on Sept. 11, and were reported missing by base security personnel late Saturday. They were last seen at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, Mass.

A Centcom official told ABC News there is no indication that the Afghan men reported missing pose any threat to the public. Officials said all the Afghan military personnel were fully vetted before they arrived

Base and local police and state authorities are working together to locate the three Afghans. There are still approximately a dozen Afghan soldiers still participating in the exercise, which ends Sep. 24th.

…Just last weekend, two Afghan policemen in the Washington, D.C., for a DEA training program at Quantico, Va., also went missing while on a sightseeing trip to Georgetown.

The two men, who were part of a group of 31 Afghan police officers in the U.S. for the multi-week program, were found safe somewhere outside of D.C., but officials would not say exactly where, ABC affiliate WJLA-TV reported.

According to WJLA-TV, the DEA said the two men left the group because they did not want to go back to Afghanistan.

The term ‘green on blue violence’ is used to describe attacks on our soldiers in Afghanistan by people our military is training to defend the country. The fact that this phenomena has a name is an indication that these attacks are not isolated events. So why are we inviting Afghans to America when there are trust issues with Afghani forces? This makes no sense.

UPDATE:

WCVB is reporting that that the three Afghani officers have been found.

The article reports:

The three missing Afghani soldiers who went missing during a training exercise at a Cape Cod military base this weekend have been found, a high-level law enforcement source tells Team 5.

…The source tells Team 5’s Karen Anderson the men were taken into custody at the Rainbow Bridge Canadian/US border crossing near Niagara Falls on Monday.

They were identified as Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar.

“They were here for a multi-national military exercise which had been scheduled for a long time. They have been here for a couple of weeks. There’s a lot of speculation that within the military they maybe be trying to defect,” Deval Patrick said.

 

While The Press Was Covering Ferguson…

Yesterday, Hot Air reported on four murders that the press seems to have overlooked. Ali Muhammad Brown was suspected of killing three Seattle men. He is now accused of shooting 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin eight times at a West Orange traffic light in New Jersey in June.

The article reports:

He sought revenge against America for what he said was the wanton killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tevlin was allegedly Brown’s fourth victim.

Brown’s victims, with the exception of Tevlin, had a similar background: they were young, gay men.

…Brown may eventually face federal and/or state-level terrorism charges, but few press accounts of his attacks – most of them in local outlets — state clearly that Islamic jihadist ideology inspired him. “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” court documents allege Brown said of United States actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some outlets are not mincing words about the nature of Brown’s crimes. A July report via a Seattle-based Fox affiliate described Brown as a “radical jihadist” who targeted homosexual men, but few have followed suit.

Brown was an Islamist who targeted homosexual men. Under Sharia Law, homosexuals are subject to the death penalty. He was simply acting within the bounds of his religion. Somehow the press does not seem to be concerned with this man who killed four men in America in the name of jihad. The jihadis are already among us. Unfortunately, the press is not keeping us informed.

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Why Guantanamo Needs To Stay Open And Adding Prisoners

In June, the U.K. Mail posted an article identifying the leader of ISIS as someone America once had in custody in Iraq. If you choose to follow the link, be aware that there are some graphic pictures posted there.

The article reports:

The United States once had Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in custody at a detention facility in Iraq, but president Barack Obama let him go, it was revealed on Friday.

Al Baghdadi was among the prisoners released in 2009 from the U.S.’s now-closed Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq.

Had Al Baghdadi been shipped to Guantanamo when he was captured in 2005 (under President Bush) and kept there, the situation in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the area might be a little different.

The article reports:

The story of how Baghadadi ended up in U.S. custody in the first place and later came to be the leader of a violent terrorist group is the stuff of legend.

It is said by some that al Baghadadi was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was picked up by the U.S. military, a farmer who got caught up in a massive sweep. It was at Camp Bucca that he was radicalized and became a follower of Osama Bin Laden.

Another version of the story is that al Baghadadi, who also goes by the alias of Abu Duaa, was an Islamic fundamentalist before the U.S. invaded Iraq and he became a leader in al Qaeda‘s network before he was arrested and detained by American forces in 2005.

‘Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim,’ according to a 2005 U.S. intelligence report.

‘He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.’

Releasing this man from prison was not smart, he should have been executed for his crimes.

The article concludes (remember this article was posted in June):

The news that the U.S. may have played a role in the rise of the new Osama bin Laden comes just a week after President Obama released five Taliban commanders in exchange for a U.S. soldier being held hostage by the terrorist network.

Lawmakers immediately questioned the logic of the president’s decision, saying that the move could end up backfiring on the U.S. if the five fighters return to the battlefield in Afghanistan once their mandatory one-year stay in Qatar comes to a close.

They are especially concerned given the president’s announcement just days before their release that he plans to withdraw the majority of America’s troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Already one, of the Taliban 5 have vowed to return to Afghanistan to fight American soldiers there once he is able.

‘I wouldn’t be doing it if I thought that it was contrary to American national security,’ the president said at the time.

Stay tuned.

Securing The Border Is A National Security Issue

The Blaze posted an article yesterday reminding us that all of the people rushing across the southern border of the United States are not fleeing violence in South America–some are hoping to create violence here.

The article reports:

“We have limited resources,” said the agent (a Texas Border Patrol agent), who was not authorized to speak publicly. “It’s frustrating for all of us and there’s no doubt that we have OTMs [Other Than Mexicans] coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and other parts of the world that we are very concerned with — these guys won’t be turning themselves into Border Patrol like the family units or children. I expect we’ll see more the OTMs of special interest this year and next, now that they know they can get in easier and they won’t be turned back home.”

Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, is also spoken in parts of Afghanistan and India. People coming from these parts of the world are considered persons of special interest because of their potential connections to extremist groups in those regions, the agent said.

“We’ve found Korans, prayer rugs and many other unusual items at the border that certainly raise concern,” the agent said.

How many Americans will die before the current White House does something to close our borders?

How To Effectively Combat A Smear Campaign

The prisoner exchange involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was controversial to say the least. When members of his platoon spoke out about the circumstances of his disappearance, some White House supporters began a whisper campaign about these men–questioning the veracity of their observations.

Rep. Tom Cotton is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. His comments during a Joint Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held yesterday are an example of how you correctly handle a smear campaign.

The comments are posted on YouTube (and below):

It Just Gets Worse

Yahoo News has posted an article today reporting that the five terrorists that were released from Guantanamo to Qatar have been moved to a residential community and will be allowed to move freely around the country. There is a one-year ban imposed on the terrorists that will theoretically prevent them from traveling outside the country. How long will it be before they make internet contact with their friends and resume terrorists activities?

The article reports:

Following the deal under which freed the last American soldier held in Afghanistan was freed, concerns have been expressed by some U.S. intelligence officials and congressional advisers over the role of the Gulf Arab state as a bridge between Washington and the world of radical Islam.

The Gulf official said the Taliban men, who have been granted Qatari residency permits, will not be treated like prisoners while in Doha and no U.S. officials will be involved in monitoring their movement while in the country.

“Under the deal they have to stay in Qatar for a year and then they will be allowed to travel outside the country… They can go back to Afghanistan if they want to,” the official said.

The more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets.

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The Story From Someone Who Was There

First of all, I need to say that I am glad that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is safe and on his way home. However, the more we learn about this deal, the worse it looks.

Today The Daily Beast posted a story by one of the people who was on the scene during the disappearance and aftermath of Sgt. Bergdahl.

Nathan Bradley Bethea reports:

I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him (Sgt. Bergdahl) throughout the summer of 2009. After we redeployed, every member of my brigade combat team received an order that we were not allowed to discuss what happened to Bergdahl for fear of endangering him. He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth.

…The next morning, Bergdahl failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.

The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey later wrote that “[w]hether Bergdahl…just walked away from his base or was lagging behind on a patrol at the time of his capture remains an open and fiercely debated question.” Not to me and the members of my unit. Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not “lag behind on a patrol,” as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents.

That’s what happened.

Please follow the link above to the article to read the entire story. The article explains how the search for Sgt. Bergdahl cost American lives. The prisoner swap was a really bad idea and will probably put our soldiers at greater risk. However, we need to consider that this may be only an initial step in removing prisoners from Guantanamo.

 

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What World Is He Living In?

This is part of the transcript from the speech President Obama gave to the graduating cadets at West Point:

Four and a half years later, as you graduate, the landscape has changed. We have removed our troops from Iraq. We are winding down our war in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida’s leadership on the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been decimated, and Osama bin Laden is no more. (Cheers, applause.) And through it all, we’ve refocused our investments in what has always been a key source of American strength: a growing economy that can provide opportunity for everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility here at home.

In fact, by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.

Think about it. Our military has no peer. The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War. Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative. Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations.

I will admit that I am very partisan, but that is not why I believe that America’s global leadership is slipping away. We have an American marine in prison in Mexico because he made a wrong turn. We have an American pastor in prison in Iraq because he is a Christian while his wife is in America. If America were stronger, both of these people would be at home in America.

American energy independence will be achieved despite the government, not because of it. The Obama Administration has blocked oil exploration on federal land. The Obama Administration has also blocked construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The administration has spent millions of dollars investing in technology that has not yet been proven to work. The Obama Administration is a roadblock to energy independence–not a facilitator.

This is the link to a transcript of the speech. Please read the whole speech and draw your own conclusions.

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Friends Are More Valuable Than Government

Yesterday The Blaze posted an update on a story about a soldier’s home in Florida that had been taken over by squatters.

The article reports what happened when Army Spc. Michael Sharkey, a soldier currently station in Hawaii, asked law enforcement to remove the squatters from his house:

Indeed Sharkey tried going through law enforcement to remove Ortiz and Cardoso, but that turned out to be in vain — sheriffs said it’s a civil matter and would take a court order to evict them since they established residency.

As you might guess, all of this has made other veterans and supporters of Sharkey absolutely livid.

That’s where the idea that it is good to have friends comes in.

The article reports:

Then WFLA reported that two Tampa motorcycle clubs filled with veterans were planning to ride over to the Sharkey residence on Sunday “and peacefully make the squatters uncomfortable.”

With that, Ortiz started packing up, noting the planned biker visit was one of the reasons he and Cardoso were leaving, WFLA said.

The Veteran Warriors is organizing a cleanup and remodel of the house.

It’s good to have friends.

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Breaking Faith With The Brave Men And Women Who Defend Us

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill negotiated by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), would only restore retirement benefits for 17.5 percent of military retirees.

The article reports:

Title X of the bill exempts veterans who receive Chapter 61 retirement. Chapter 61 applies to combat veterans who are disabled as a result of their service. The spouses of deceased veterans will also be exempt, according to section 10001 of the legislation.

However, the bill keeps in place the one percent decrease in the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for all other military retirees. The change, effective December 2015, affects retirees under the age of 62 and will result in thousands of dollars in lost retirement pay.

Enlisted servicemembers could lose a minimum of $72,000 over a 20 year period of their retirement, while commissioned officers could face up to $124,000 in lost compensation.

I don’t care if it saves a million billion dollars, there is no excuse for doing this. It is breaking a contract made with military currently serving–this is not what they were told when they signed up. Our current military has done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have missed the birth of their children, children’s birthdays, graduations, dance recitals, etc.,. because they were overseas serving their country. Now their country is giving them the short end of the stick.

Americans were left with the impression that this would be changed in the final bill. It has NOT been changed. The bill is being passed under the radar in the hopes that no one will notice. Please raise a ruckus about this. Call you Congressman and register your disgust.

This is outrageous!

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The Roots Of An Idea

On Friday, Fox News posted a story about the people behind the scenes who support the closing of the terrorist prisoner camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As you remember, President Obama has been attempting to close down this camp since he became President. Congress has opposed the move because of the complications of relocating prisoners and the risk of allowing prisoners to go free. The majority of the prisoners who have been set free from Guantanamo have returned to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to fight again. There are some genuine questions as to whether terrorists can be rehabilitated. There are also some very prickly legal questions about bringing these prisoners into the United States–do they get the see the methods we used to collect evidence against them, do they have Miranda rights, etc.?

The story at Fox News listed the major groups supporting the closing of Guantanamo and the groups those groups are associated with. The list will not cause educated Americans to support the closing of Guantanamo.

The list includes:

Amnesty International. Along with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International was revealed as partner organization to Al Karama, a human rights non-profit run by Qatar’s Abdul Rahman Omeir Al-Naimi. 

…Al-Naimi was recently exposed by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2013 as a long-term major financier of Al Qaeda.

…Center for Constitutional Rights. CCR was founded by far-left civil rights lawyer William Kunstler in the 1960s, a man who told the press his goal was to “destroy society from within.”

…CCR is currently funded by groups like the “1848 Foundation,” named after the year Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was published and revolutions swept through Europe.

…Reprieve. A British organization led by blogger Andy Worthington, it pressures release of British citizens and residents.  Ethiopia’s Binyam Mohammed, a British resident, allegedly plotted to blow up high rise apartment buildings in the U.S. with a dirty bomb; Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, and Shafiq Rasul, a.k.a., the Tipton Three, ethnic Pakistanis went to fight for jihad in Afghanistan but were caught by the Northern Alliance in Nov. 2001; and Shaker Aamer, a Saudi citizen with British residence, alleged to have led a unit of Al Qaeda fighters in Tora Bora, and reportedly a former close associate of Usama Bin Laden, shoe-bomber Richard Reid and 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussaoui.

…World Can’t Wait. This organization is believed to have been founded by members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party & Anarchists.

…Jason Leopold. Leopold is a former Los Angeles Times investigative journalist with a checkered past.  According to Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz, writing in a 2005 Washington Post feature, “Leopold says he engaged in ‘lying, cheating and backstabbing,’ is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life.”

Are these really organizations and people that Americans should find themselves in agreement with?

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Child Abuse

The Blaze posted a story today about a ten-year old girl who was going to be a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. She had been fitted with a suicide vest and prepared for her mission when her brother instructed her to swim across a river to get to her target, a border police checkpoint in Helmand province. She refused to cross the water because it was cold, at which point her brother took her back home where she was beaten by her father. She then ran away from home and surrendered to police the following morning.

This is the YouTube interview:

Where does she go to get her childhood back after that incident? She is a beautiful child growing up in a very ugly culture.

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The Cost Of Ignoring The Lessons Of History

I am part of the generation that graduated from high school during the ramp up of the war in Vietnam. The boys in my high school graduating class went to college or Vietnam. There were no other choices. That was a time in the history of this country where everyone was not expected to go to college. My husband served in the Navy during that time. We lost friends in Vietnam, and we have friends who physically came home but never mentally came home. Vietnam was a striking example of what happens when politicians take over a war. The military wins wars when they are allowed to do so. Politicians fight with one hand tied behind their backs so that they don’t risk offending anyone. That is the place we have come to (again) in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Washington Times posted an article about the increase in casualties in the war in Afghanistan. Although it is difficult to prove statistically, the author of the article believes that the increase in casualties is directly related to the rule of engagement set by the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

“In Afghanistan, the [rules of engagement] that were put in place in 2009 and 2010 have created hesitation and confusion for our war fighters,” said Wayne Simmons, a retired U.S. intelligence officer who worked in NATO headquarters in Kabul as the rules took effect, first under Army Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal, then Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

As President Obama’s troop surge began in 2009, so did new rules of engagement demanded by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was responding to local elders angry over the deaths of civilians from NATO airstrikes and ground operations.

Please read the entire article to get the full picture. I posted it simply to bring up the concept. We need to allow our young men to fight, or take them out of harm’s way. What we are doing now is slowly killing off the future leaders of our country for no apparent reason. We made that mistake in Vietnam. Let’s not make it again.

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Not All Cultures Are Created Equal

On Saturday, the New York Post posted an article by Phyllis Chesler entitled, “My life of hell in an Afghan harem.” It is the story of an American college student who marries a man from Kabul, Afghanistan, and travels with him to Afghanistan. After marrying him at age 20, she travels through Europe with him and then on to Afghanistan. When she arrives in Afghanistan, an airport official takes away her American passport. That is pretty much the end of her rights as a person. Because she has given up her passport, she cannot prove that she is an American, and thus is not entitled to protection by the American Embassy.

Because of the lack of sanitary drinking water, Ms. Chesler soon contracted dysentery and later hepatitis. Her father-in-law eventually sends her back to America as she is slowing recovering from hepatitis. Needless to say, she is more than grateful to get back to America.

The article concludes:

I’ve never told this story in detail before, but felt that I must now. Because I hear some westerners preach the tortured cultural relativism that excuses the mistreatment of women in the name of Islam. Because I see the burqa on the streets of Paris and New York and feel that Afghanistan has followed me back to America.

I call myself a feminist — but not just any feminist. My kind of feminism was forged in the fires of Afghanistan. There I received an education — an expensive, almost deadly one — but a valuable one, too.

I understand firsthand how deep-seated the hatred of women is in that culture. I see how endemic indigenous barbarism and cruelty is and unlike many other intellectuals and feminists, I don’t try to romanticize or rationalize it.

I got out, and I will never return.

Her story is a striking example of what Sharia Law means for a culture. All Americans need to make sure Sharia Law never comes to America.

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Freedom Of Speech Is Not Compatible With Sharia Law

On Friday the Center for Security Policy posted an article about Sushmita Banerjee, an Indian woman who wrote a bestselling memoir about the brutality of Sharia law and her escape from the Taliban. She has been killed by unknown militants in Afghanistan.

In an article in Outlook India.com from May 1998, she related her story. The article reported:

Here I must mention the case of a woman who called in a priest to pray for her son who was seriously ill. Members of the Taliban saw the maulvi going into the house. The woman and the priest were executed in public. They were taken to the square alongside the local police station and shot. The entire village was terrorised by the incident.

…Meanwhile, my brothers-in-law tracked me down and took me back to Afghanistan. They promised to send me back to India. But they did not keep their promise. Instead, they kept me under house arrest and branded me an immoral woman. The Taliban threatened to teach me a lesson. I knew I had to escape.

One night I tunneled my way through the mud walls of the house and fled. Close to Kabul I was arrested. A 15-member group of the Taliban interrogated me. Many of them said that since I had fled my husband’s home I should be executed. However, I was able to convince them that since I was an Indian I had every right to go back to my country.

The interrogation continued through the night. The next morning I was taken to the Indian embassy from where I was given a safe passage. Back in Calcutta I was reunited with my husband. I don’t think he will ever be able to go back to his family.

This is Sharia Law in action.

 

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More Thoughts On Syria

As I have said, I have very mixed emotions as to what America needs to do regarding Syria. Today Michael Yon, an independent war correspondent posted a story on his website entitled, “Syria–Outrage is Not a Strategy.” The article details some of the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and the fact that many of the statements made by the American government during the time he was there as a reporter were simply false.

Regarding Syria, Michael Yon quotes a letter written to him by Member of Parliament Adam Holloway. The letter states, “Outrage is not a strategy.”

I have a lot of respect for Michael Yon. If you are not familiar with Michael’s work, I strongly suggest that you visit his blog, Michael Yon – Online Magazine, and read some of what he has been doing in recent years.

Outrage is not a strategy. The gassing of innocent civilians warrants outrage, but the question becomes, “What is the best thing to do with that outrage?” That is where the discussion begins.

What would our goal be in attacking Syria? What would America’s strategy be in attacking Syria? What would be considered a ‘good’ outcome of an American attack on Syria? How would an American attack on Syria bring peace to either Syria or the Middle East? What would be the exit strategy?

Those are the questions I hope will be answered in the coming weeks.

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Some Good News Out Of Iran

What you are about to read is actually good news. You have to kind of bend your thinking a little bit to see it that way, but it is good news.

The Iranian Christian News Agency is reporting that Iran is desperately seeking a way to solve the problem of Iranian Muslim youth converting to Christianity. First of all, I am thrilled that there is an Iranian Christian News Agency.

Their website explains their mission:

Mohabat News will continue to act as a cultural and social bridge between the world community and the peoples of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan and to better inform the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ and Christian ministries around the world about the life and the welfare of Christian minorities in these Farsi-speaking countries.

Yesterday they reported the following story:

The Islamic regime’s think-tank, in association with the Iranian intelligence service held its first of a series of meetings called “Free thinking and critical speech”. The meeting was held to discuss “conversion from Islam” and analyze why Iranian youth tend to convert to Christianity.

According to Mohabat News, the regime-backed Sharq website reported that the Public Relations section of the “Sarcheshmeh” (Martyrs of Islamic Revolution) Cultural Center announced that the first in a series of meetings called “Free thinking and critical speech” was held to discuss “conversion from Islam” and analyze why Iranian youth tend to convert to Christianity.

The report indicates there were several special guests in the first meeting as well. The guests were Dr. Christian Bruno and Dr. Yassin from France and another guest from Italy. The guests spoke about Christianity and a few reasons why some young people tend to convert to it.

The announcement states that religious minorities and Iranian Christians are free to take part with no admission costs. It also indicates that due to the sensitivity of issue and limited seats, those interested need to sign up in advance.

The meeting dedicated to investigating the reasons for conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity will be held on September 6, 2013, in the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Center.

There is good news here. Iran has persecuted Christian Pastors and leaders of house churches in an attempt to stop the spread of Christianity. It has not worked. Iran has put Pastors in jail, and the spread of Christianity continues. I am not sure what the purpose of this meeting actually is, but it is good news that Christianity is growing among the young people of Iran. When you combine that with the fact as of 2012, more than half of Iran’s population was under the age of 35, the spread of Christianity among the young is wonderful. Iran lost a generation of men (and some children) in its eight-year war with Iraq which began in September of 1980. There were an estimated 1 million casualties (killed or wounded), and civilians deaths continue as a result of Iraqi chemical weapons.

Because of that war, there is a gap in the population of Iran, and the under-35 generation will replace the current aging regime as they pass away. It is fantastic news that Christianity is spreading among that generation.

I don’t see the Shiite government of Iran giving up power anytime soon, but it’s good to know that Christianity is growing despite their best efforts to stop it. Just for the record, under Sharia Law, conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death.

 

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We Need A Common-Sense Immigration Policy

I don’t support the current immigration bill. Because we currently have an administration that selectively enforces the law, I am afraid that the enforcement parts of the immigration bill will not be enforced. However, we desperately need to revise our immigration laws. One example of bureaucratic nonsense relating to immigration appeared yesterday in the Washington Free Beacon.

The story involves Hafez (a pseudonym to protect his identity), who served as an Afghan translator for Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer during the battle of Ganjgal. Dakota Meyer is the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war.

The article reports:

But Meyer says his friend Hafez is still waiting to receive a U.S. visa he applied for years ago. The former translator remains in Afghanistan under daily threat from the Taliban while his application is caught in the bureaucratic limbo of the State Department.

“He stood next to me, by my side pretty much the entire time [during the Battle of Ganjgal],” Meyer, 25, said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon on Monday. “He helped me carry my guys out.”

“If we can’t help get this guy back who sacrificed so much to bring these Americans home, I’m sure he’ll be killed,” he said.

As the American presence in Afghanistan decreases, translators have been targeted by the Taliban . We need to grant this man (and his family) political asylum in America as soon as possible. We won’t have anyone in the world willing to help us anywhere if we continue to behave like this.

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For Your Consideration…

On July 10, the Daily Kos (yes, you read that right) reported that the trial began in Manhattan this week for fourteen veterans who were arrested for reading the names of American soldiers killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan at New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The soldiers had not finished reading the list when the police asked them to leave, and when they continued reading, they were arrested. One of those arrested was an 85-year-old Word War II Army combat veteran.

I have very mixed emotions about this. Yes, it is within their First Amendment rights to assemble and read the names (this was part of a gathering to ask that all troops be immediately withdrawn from Afghanistan), but if there is a valid curfew, they are also required to respect that.

The article reports:

The defendants are being represented by attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild-NYC, who argue in a brief that “the memorial is in constant use by pedestrians, dog walkers and other people after 10 p.m.,” and that the veterans “were in fact singled out for arrest precisely because of their First Amendment-protected activities.”  

Defense attorney Martin R. Stolar characterized the police behavior as “morally outrageous” and has stated, “Legally, we believe [the defendants' actions] will be protected by the First Amendment.” Another lawyer for the defendants, Jonathan Wallace, called the event at the veterans memorial “the core of what the First Amendment was designed to protect.”

I think it would have been nice if they had left when asked and continued reading the names when the park opened the next day. There may be more to this story than is immediately obvious.

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The Terrorism Of The Middle East Arrives In Boston

I live in Massachusetts. The Boston Marathon is part of the Massachusetts tradition. It was a shock to see terrorism come to the Marathon.

Boston.com posted some of the details of the blast today.

The article reports:

Investigators have also recovered components of the bombs, enabling them to determine what they consisted of two 6-liter pressure cookers packed with nails, ball bearings, and other metal. The makeshift bombs were placed in black duffel bags, the official said.

Putting nails, ball bearings, and metal objects in these pressure cookers assures that there will be serious injuries. This type of bomb has been used in Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

Bombs with this type of shrapnel have been used by Hezbollah against Israel for a number of years.

This was a horrendous event. I am sure that those responsible will be found and held accountable. Forensic science is very thorough–there will be sufficient evidence to find the people who did this. However, that really doesn’t make life any easier for the families that were impacted by this event. Please remember them in your prayers.Enhanced by Zemanta

This Is Not The Path I Think We Should Be On

The statement “There are no atheists in foxholes” came out of World War II. Its origin is uncertain–it is sometimes credited to U. S. Military Chaplain William T. Cummings during the Battle of Bataan and sometimes credited to Ernie Pyle. That information is from Wikipedia, so keep that in mind.

At any rate, it seems that at the present time Christians may not be allowed in foxholes. Fox News reported yesterday that the Christian symbols have been removed from the chapel at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E in Afghanistan.

The article quotes a letter that American Atheists president David Silverman sent to the Pentagon:

“Soldiers with minority religious beliefs and atheists often feel like second-class citizens when Christianity is seemingly officially endorsed by their own base,” Silverman told Fox News. “We are very happy the Pentagon and the Army decided to do the right thing.”

I thought religious freedom was one of the things our military was defending. The military takes an oath to defend the U. S. Constitution which supports freedom of religion. I am sorry if a soldier was offended by the cross, but the Constitution does not tell him that he has the right not to be offended. Is he also offended by the Star of David or the Crescent Moon? Guess what? I really don’t care. Christianity is a part of the heritage of our country and of our military. There is no reason to strip our bases of that heritage.

The article posted one reaction to the move:

The Christian cleansing brought condemnation from religious liberty advocates like Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

“Under this Administration, the military has become a Christianity-free zone,” Perkins told Fox News. “As a veteran, there’s an irony here. You put on the uniform to defend freedom — chief among them is freedom of religion. And yet, you are stripped of your own freedom to practice your faith.”

“This is not about imposing religion on a people we’ve freed from oppression,” Perkins said. “This is about American soldiers having the ability to practice their own faith.”

The article concludes:

“My personal feeling is that it is a direct attack against Christianity and Judaism,” one soldier told Fox News. “When you look at the regulation and you notice the four items directly quoted are crosses, crucifixes, the Star of David and the Menorah.”

The Army regulation makes no specific mention of the wheel of Dharma, Pentagram, Pentacle, Star and Crescent or the Yin and Yang symbol, he noted.

And while Christian symbols are being removed from chapels, there has been at least one instance of a gay pride flag being raised at a base in Afghanistan. Click here to read our original story.

Photographs purporting to show the rainbow flag flying over the base stirred widespread debate after it was posted on Facebook.

This is not a good path for America to be traveling.

 

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A Word From Someone Who Understands The Issue

Ky Hunter served in the Marine Corps. She was a Cobra pilot during the Iraq War. When I first met her a number of years ago, I asked her how that was possible since as far as I knew women were not in combat. She answered, “I wasn’t in combat, I was a few hundred feet up and a few hundred feet back.” I loved her answer, and I respect her views on the subject. She posted the following on her blog, welcometokylandblogspot.com yesterday:

Those Who Should, Will

Secretary Panetta lifted the ban on women on combat roles.  The Washington Post calls this a “watershed policy change that was informed by women’s valor in Iraq and Afghanistan and that removes the remaining barrier to a fully inclusive military.”
Given my time spent as an AH-1W pilot in the Marine Corps, my phone, email, Facebook, twitter, etc has been bombarded with questions about how I feel about this.  So rather than answer everyone individually, below, I wrap up all question and give my response. 
 
First, a disclaimer.  I am no longer in the Marine Corps.  The views, idea, feeling, rants, offensive comments, off color remarks, or general pissyness are mine and mine alone.  They do not reflect the the views of the Corps, or University of Denver.  So, with that aside, here I go. 
 
Historically, the central question of the women in combat debate has been “are women physically capable of performing the duties required for combat?” This question is quickly and easily answered.  Objectively, women are increasingly proving themselves as physically capable as men.  In both endurance events and tests of strength-to-weight, women are evening the playing field and living up to what has been thought of as “mens standards.”  Women have also proven themselves tactically as capable as men in all objectively measurable fields. 
 
If these objective standards – how fast one can run, how much one can lift, how well one can shoot – were the only indicators of success in combat there would be no argument or debate; those meeting the standard would be inarguably successful.  However, success in combat units is determined by more than just objective abilities, and thus the debate deepens. It is universally accepted that the safety and success of our military units is paramount.  It is for this reason that I believe the debate needs to shift away from “are women capable” of serving to “are women a value added”.   This changes the argument from “can or cannot” to “should or should not”; a question that needs to be addressed top-down rather than bottom-up. 
 
Throughout the last decade-plus of the United States’ involvement in the conflicts encompassing the Global War on Terror, there is no arguing that women have found themselves “in combat situations.”  In these situations, women have shown valor, strength, leadership, fortitude, and upheld the values of honor, courage and commitment.  Many have given the ultimate sacrifice, and each and every one of them deserves a place in history and our hearts as a true hero. 
 
But being “in combat situations” is not the same as being a “combatant.”  Combatants are offensive.  Their mission is to close with and destroy the enemy.  They seek engagement.  Their primary purpose is to assert superiority over an enemy force. 
 
Having the technical and tactical skill to react properly when coming under fire during the performance of primary duties – whether it be an ambushed logistics patrol, FET team patrol, or MP checkpoint attack – provides a foundation of knowledge and experience necessary for the argument supporting a woman’s ability to be in combat.  However, mastery of this baseline alone does not necessarily equate to success of a woman in the role of a combatant. 
 
Successful combat units are a product of the intangible – the fabled esprit de corps – as much as technical and tactical proficiency.  This elusive intangible cannot be “trained in” to a recruit.  It cannot be taught in infantry school.  No amount of extra pushups, remedial weapons training or nights in the field ensure that it exists. 
 
Women are just as capable as men of developing the necessary esprit de corps.  But it cannot be forced.  I hope that in implementing these changes, no arbitrary timelines are put in place.  If it takes 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years or 2 decades for the right women to come into combat roles, so be it.  The US military is an all-volunteer force, and to respect that tradition, combat roles must be volunteer.  Quota systems will only set the work of every woman who has served back, by making light of the sacrifices involved in paving the paths they did.
 
I have the upmost trust that the DoD will set standards appropriately.  And I sincerely hope that the civilian oversight and general population will let this change grow organically and fruitfully, while respecting the grave responsibility for life given to each member of the US military. 
 

I can say from experience that the road for these women will not be easy.  I have chronicled much of my coming to grips with what my experience and service mean.  But I know that I, and all my sisters in arms, are more than capable to serve in all roles necessary for defense of this great nation.  Yet it will not be easy.  And hopefully the public will understand that in such a situation we all must be patient for the women who should emerge to lead our sons and daughters in arms, and not force them in their time.     

Ky, thank you for your service, and thank you for your words of wisdom.

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No, Mr. President, America Did Not Fall Short–You Did

Today’s Weekly Standard posted a short article about some comments made by President Obama regarding Afghanistan.

The article reports:

“So, you know, I think that, have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not. You know, there’s a human enterprise, and you know, you fall short of the ideal,” said Obama.

This comment infuriates me. First of all, the President did not give the military the number of troops they asked for to do the job. Second of all, he withdrew troops before the actual fighting season. Third of all, he told the Taliban exactly when he was planning to leave so that they could wait us out. Fourth, he established rules of engagement that made it very difficult for American soldiers to defend themselves, much less fight a war. Afghanistan was the victim of failed leadership from the Obama White House. Unfortunately, we may watch Iraq fall victim to the same problem.

Strong leadership would bring us much closer to the ‘ideal.’ Voting ‘present’ will not accomplish anything.

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They Are Here

Today’s Washington Post is reporting that four men have been arrested in California plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities in Afghanistan. The men had planned to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and wage violent jihad.

The article reports:

A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.

The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland — converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.

The men had planned to depart for Afghanistan in mid-November. Their cover story stated that they were going to Afghanistan to attend Kabir’s wedding.

The article further reports:

Authorities allege that in Skype calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange their meetings with terrorists. Kabir added the would-be jihadists could sleep in mosques or the homes of fellow jihadists once they arrived in Afghanistan.

We need to be thankful that the FBI is doing its job very well.

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His Nose Is Growing…

On Friday, the Washington Free Beacon posted a story specifically listing the lies Vice-President Joe Biden told during the Vice-Presidential debate this week. I will attempt to summarize.

The article reports:

“We weren’t told they wanted more security there,” Biden said in response to a charge from Republican opponent Paul Ryan. “We did not know they wanted more security.”

…The White House now claims Biden only meant that neither he nor President Obama was personally informed of the security requests, but press secretary Jay Carney on Friday awkwardly declined to say whether or not they ever were briefed on the matter.

It is bad enough that the Vice-President might have lied–it is worse if he and the President were not made aware of the problem after the numerous previous attacks on the Embassy.

The article further reports:

Ryan and House Republicans “cut” embassy security by $300 million.

…A senior State Department official who testified before Congress earlier this week said budget considerations were not a factor in the decision to deny the U.S. Libyan delegation’s repeated requests for additional security.

Wouldn’t the Vice-President have had some idea of the Congressional testimony–it wasn’t even a good lie.

The next lie:

The Obama administration has “decimated” al Qaeda.

Lara Logan, chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, recently described the Obama administration’s declaration of victory in the war on terror a “major lie.”

The next lie:

Obama doesn’t want to raise taxes on families and small businesses earning less than $1 million a year.

…President Obama has often stated his desire to raise taxes on all individuals and small businesses earning at least $200,000 a year, a proposal he included in his most recent budget resolution. Doing so is estimated to raise about $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade.

The next lie:

Syria is five times the size of Libya.

Check you Atlas. I have no words.

The next lie:

Obama has ordered all American troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.

…However, the administration has discussed maintaining an “enduring presence”—in the words of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—in Afghanistan beyond 2104. That would likely consist of somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 military advisers and special forces troops, contingent on an agreement with the government of Afghanistan.

Always read the fine print.

The next lie:

The federal government is not forcing Catholic institutions to cover contraception.

…Yet 35 lawsuits against the HHS mandate, which forces insurance companies to cover contraception for free, are pending right now, including many from Catholic universities. The Becket Fund pointed out this fact in an email this morning objecting to the Vice President’s comments.

It depends on the meaning of the words Catholic institution.

The next lie:

Biden voted against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

…Then-Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001, authorizing “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq.

Biden did, however, vote against the First Gulf War to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, arguing that the U.S. had no “vital interests” in the region.

Generally speaking, Vice-President Biden has been wrong on almost every statement he has ever made regarding foreign policy.

And that is the Washington Free Beacon’s list of lies Vice-President Biden told during the debate this week. For further details, follow the link above to the Washington Free Beacon.

 

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