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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Doesn’t Anyone Have Any Common Sense ?

Yesterday’s Providence Journal reported that a mother who is a single parent contacted the ACLU because her daughter was not able to attend a father-daughter dance the school was having. The Cranston School Department has now banned traditional “father-daughter” and “mother-son” activities, saying they violate state law.

The article reports:

Supt. Judith Lundsten said the move was triggered by a letter ifrom the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mom who had complained that her daughter had not been able to attend her father-daughter dance.

Lundsten said school attorneys found while federal Title IX legislation banning gender discrimination gives an exemption for “father-son” and “mother-daughter” events, Rhode Island law doesn’t.

This is the place where common sense would be useful. One of my daughters is a military wife. When her daughter’s school had a father-daughter dance at a time when my son-in-law was in Afghanistan, another father who was going with his daughter simply stepped in and added my granddaughter to his family for the night. I think rather than rain on everyone else’s parade, the answer would be to find a male friend willing to stand in for the night. Why did this single parent feel the need to spoil the fun for the other children and parents?

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A Reliable Source In Afghanistan

One of the few people I actually believe when I hear anything about Afghanistan is Michael Yon. He has spent a lot of time there and has the contacts to find out the truth, and because he reports for himself, he is free to tell the truth.

Michael posted an article today about the recent poisoning of Afghanistan girls because they were attending school. His article posts the emails between him and one of the Taliban leaders. He relates the correspondence:

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid fully owned up to their terrorist attacks that unfolded just days ago in Kabul and elsewhere.  He emailed to me, and contacted large media, and took credit for multiple suicide and other attacks.  And so it was natural to ask Mujahid if the Taliban (there are many groups, and there are lone wolves) was behind this atrocity against the girls yesterday.

His answer today:

“we are respecting womens .  taliban movement became in power againt those who kidnape womens and rap girls .  we don,t know about these girls , who and for what reason they kidnape. we are not support this .  Their arae a  lot af those creminals who were involve in that kind of cases b4 , now they are in power . and I personly sure that  in this case they will be involve”

And so I responded to Mujahid’s answer with a question.  Will the Taliban bring these criminal(s) who poisoned the girls to Islamic Justice?  Mujahid answered minutes ago:

“As I wrote u in my last mail we are agaist this criminals activety , so of corse we will bring them to islamic justice.”

Of course, not everything that happens out there is in accordance with the policies of the Afghanistan government, or our troops, or the Taliban.  When a Soldier or Soldiers apparently murdered 17 Afghans, those murders were not sanctioned by our side, though it looks like we own it.  Likewise, the Taliban did abolish opium and the use of boys for sex, and they did hang people for raping women.  Meanwhile, the government of Afghanistan is more apt to make a woman marry someone who rapes her.  This is a complex mess.  There is no black and white in this.  The more you learn the more your head spins.

If there is any good news out of this, it is that many girls are in school.

The bottom line here is that Afghanistan is a mess.

 

 

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The French Shooting Suspect Is Identified

The person who shot four people outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on Monday morning has been surrounded by French police and is expected to surrender shortly. Who is this man?

The Jerusalem Post reports:

French school shooting suspect Mohamed Merah was jailed for bombings in Afghanistan in 2007, but escaped months later in a mass prison break organized by Taliban insurgents, a top Afghan prison official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Merah is a French citizen of Algerian origin. He escaped from Sarposa Prison in June 2008 when the Taliban attacked the prison and freed 1,000 prisoners, including 400 Taliban insurgents.

At what point do we begin to honestly examine the institutionalized anti-Semitism that is inherent in Islam? Is Islam being used as an excuse to kill Jews and people from western countries, or is that idea an important part of Islam? I think we need to answer both of those questions. Somehow the idea that it’s ok to murder innocent people just because they practice a different religion has to be declared invalid by the civilized world. That should be the job of the United Nations, but I am not holding my breath.

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Sometimes I Just Don’t Like Hearing The Facts

I am ready to pull our troops out of Afghanistan. If the government doesn’t want us there, why should we stay? I suspect that right now most Americans would agree. But–there are inconvenient things called facts. Marc Thiessen points out a lot of very inconvenient consequences of leaving Afghanistan in a Washington Post article he posted yesterday.

Mr. Thiessen points out five problems with leaving Afghanistan:

1. We cannot conduct the drone war against Al Qaeda in Pakistan without bases in Afghanistan.

2. When American pressure on Al Qaeda in Pakistan is lessened, Al Qaeda can step up its efforts to destabilize Pakistan and gain control of the country’s nuclear weapons.

3. Afghanistan will again become a sanctuary for Al Qaeda.

4. Al Qaeda would claim a victory in Afghanistan and be encouraged to plan further terrorism attacks on America.

5. Iran would be made stronger by our withdrawal.

Please follow the link to the Washington Post to read the entire article. I still don’t like the idea of remaining in Afghanistan, but I don’t like the consequences of leaving either.

 

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This Really Bothers Me

I have supported the war in Afghanistan. I believed that we needed to go in and clean out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. I am disappointed that we have not been willing to commit the manpower to do so and that the rules of engagement have prevented us from doing so. I am now at the point where I think the only time we should send our military anywhere is when we arm them to the teeth and tell them to take no hostages. Well, I really must be in the minority on that one.

The UK Telegraph reported today that American soldiers were barred from bringing guns into a talk given by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The article reports:

Around 200 troops who had gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck were told “something had come to light” and asked abruptly to file outside and lay down their automatic rifles and 9mm pistols.

“Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy – we just adjust,” said the sergeant who was told to clear the hall of weapons.

Major General Mark Gurganus later said he gave the order because Afghan troops attending the talk were unarmed and he wanted the policy to be consistent for all.

This is just not smart. What would have happened if there had been an attack on the base at that particular moment? Now we are sending our soldiers into harm’s way and taking their guns away. Whoever made that decision should immediately be relieved of his command.

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How Come It’s Only Called Awful When We Do It ?

This morning most of us woke up to horrible news about an American soldier who went on a rampage and killed a number of Afghan civilians. It was a horrible incident, and that soldier will be dealt with by the American military. The purposeful killing of civilians is never acceptable. There are some doubts as to the details of what actually happened–there was an awful lot of killing for one person, why wasn’t he stopped after the first house or so, etc. However, it was an awful incident, and those responsible for it will be dealt with.

But wait a minute. Robert Spencer posted an article at Front Page Magazine today pointing out a rather obvious double standard. In regard to this incident President Karzai has stated, “This is an assassination, an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.”

The article points out:

It is noteworthy, however, that in the riots and rage that followed the discovery of the burned Qur’ans at Bagram Airfield, Afghan Muslims have murdered numerous civilians. Just last Monday, a jihad-martyrdom suicide bomber murdered at least two civilians at the gates of the airfield. Thirty people have now been killed in protests over the burning of the Qur’ans, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that Obama and other American officials have apologized repeatedly, profusely, and abjectly for the burning of the Muslim holy book.

There was no call for the arrest and prosecution of those who murdered Americans and civilians after the Koran-burning incident.

The article further points out:

The U.S. soldier’s mass murder of Afghan civilians Sunday was an enormous crime. But so was the murder of American civilians by Qur’an-Rage rioters. So also is the ongoing phenomenon of Afghan military trainees turning on the U.S. and NATO military personnel who are training them and murdering them – which in recent months has been happening with increasing frequency in Afghanistan, with no murmur of apology from Karzai or anyone else.

It’s time to hold the Afghan soldiers who turn their guns on Americans to the same standard as the American soldier who murdered Afghans over the weekend.

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This Is Not Something America Should Be Supporting In Any Way

Chief Justice Shinwani from the Supreme Court ...

Image via Wikipedia

I probably would not qualify as a feminist by today’s standards. I believe women should be able to do any job they are qualified for and should be paid equally for their work, but the current definition of feminism has left that concept far behind. However, I have very strong ideas about how women should be treated. Some of those ideas come from spending part of my childhood in the American south, where chivalry and manners can still be found. Thus, I was very disturbed when I read the following article.

The Toronto Star posted an article today about recent comments by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

The article reports:

In remarks made Tuesday, Karzai backed a “code of conduct” written by the Ulema Council of 150 leading Muslim clerics. It could dramatically restrict women’s daily lives and threaten a return to the dark days of Taliban rule.

“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the council said in its statement released last week, and later published on Karzai’s own website.

…It says women should not travel without a male guardian or mingle with men in public places such as schools, offices or markets. It also allows wife-beating in the case of a “sharia-compliant” reason, although it rejects forced marriage and the bartering of women to settle disputes.

In Kabul, Karzai said that the council had not put “any limitations” on women, and that it was only stating “the sharia law of all Muslims and all Afghans.” But some Muslim scholars have disputed the clerics’ strict interpretation.

This was what Afghanistan was like under the Taliban. I remember the joy when people took out their radios and danced when the American troops arrived. Have the people of Afghanistan forgotten their own recent past?

The article further reports:

Before the 2001 invasion, Afghan women were confined to their homes and forced to wear burkas. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and females could not get medical attention from male doctors.

Since then women have made large strides, returning to work and school, starting businesses and taking part in the political process. But their lives are frequently at risk, and have become more difficult as security has frayed in recent months.

“Sixty-five per cent of the population is under the age of 25, and young women are not prepared to take it any more,” says Toronto author and journalist Sally Armstrong, who has written on Afghan women’s rights. “They are brave, and they march in the street. The message is ‘Karzai must go.’”

Karzai has been backtracking on women’s rights in recent years, as Western countries began to roll up their military operations. By 2014, most will have left the country, although they have pledged to continue support for its development.

President Karzai is hedging his bets because foreign forces are leaving his country, and he is faced with making friends with the Taliban or being literally left hanging. The mistake made early in our dealings with Afghanistan was allowing Sharia Law to be written into the country’s constitution. Until their constitution changes, Afghanistan will never truly be a free country.

 

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Losing Our Focus In The Koran Burning Case

CNS News posted an article today stating that Jan Kubis, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s special representative in Afghanistan, has said that the U. S. troops who accidentally burned the Koran should be disciplined. Note that the Koran was accidentally burned.

As Andrew McCarthy pointed out on February 25 (rightwinggranny.com):

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

This is a false issue. Where are the Muslim apologies when they burn Bibles (which they routinely do in Muslim-ruled countries)? To punish these soldiers would be to put Sharia Law above the U. S. Constitution, which they are sworn to defend. Is that really what we want to do?

The article at CNS News points out:

“It was natural that after such a grave mistake we saw expressions on the side of the people of Afghanistan, how they reject this desecration of holy Qur’an,” Kubis said. “We were very glad to notice that the majority of the demonstrations – and they are legitimate and expressions of rejection of this desecration – were peaceful.”

He also criticized the deadly violence, which he said was provoked by “irresponsible elements,” but made no call for the perpetrators to be brought to trial.

So, let me understand this, the soldiers who accidentally burned the Korans that the Muslims had defaced should be punished, but the Afghans who murdered people in cold blood should not be punished? Seems a little one way to me.

 

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