We Have Lost Critical Thinking (And Civility) In America

I did an experiment on Facebook yesterday. I posted the following observation:

To all of my liberal California friends who are constantly bashing President Trump. Has it occurred to you that if President Trump had not restricted air travel from Chine at the end of January (despite being called a racist by the Democrats for doing it) if you live near an airport that is a point of entry from China, he might have saved your life.

That is a statement based on comments by the medical experts on the coronavirus task force–it is not an original thought. The response the statement got was unbelievable–there were close to fifty comments, many of which (on both sides) used language that caused me to eventually delete the post.

There really are not two sides of that argument–the statement is based on scientific evidence about the virus and how it spreads. There should be nothing controversial about the statement.

So what did I learn? Critical thinking and civil debate are not doing well in America. By the time the comments thread was half way over, the word racist was used, President Trump was accused of acting like a king, the people who supported President Trump in his handling of the coronavirus were simply ignoring facts, and the people who opposed President Trump were simply stupid and uninformed. The basic fact of the statement was totally ignored in the discussion.  I mention this because it is dangerous for America. I wasn’t around for Pearl Harbor, so I don’t know if America came together at that point. I was around for 9/11, and I remember the leaked Democrat memo that suggested a strategy to undermine President Bush by supporting the war in Iraq and then pulling the rug out from under him. That is not the way to unite America, and may have been the beginning of the political games we see now. Just for the record, The New York Times ran an article in 2014 stating that our soldiers found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but somehow the rest of the media didn’t pick up the story.

My point is very simple. We are facing a crisis in America. Because a country without freedom chose to lie to the world about a new virus, we are challenged by a pandemic. Everyone has been told to stay at home for at least the past week, and some of us are going stir crazy. Insulting each other and bashing the President does not help the situation. Some of the statements made by our political leaders would be considered treasonous in a different time. It’s time to work together and ignore those who are using this crisis for political gain. We need to bring back critical thinking and civility.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

Did The American Press Cover This?

The U.K. Daily Mail posted a video today of Iranian students refusing to walk of American and Israeli flags. Please follow the link to view the video. It is an amazing step forward for protesters in Iran. There have been a lot of protests in Iran lately–some sponsored and paid for by the government and some protesting that government. The thing to remember about Iran is the population demographic. Because of the tremendous loss of life during the war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, there is a generation of Iranians that is essentially missing. The median age of the Iranian population is 30.1 years, and generally speaking these young people want to westernize the country. The government represents a generation that is dying and desperately trying to hold on to its power.

The article at The U.K. Daily Mail reports:

This is the incredible moment hundreds of Iranian students refuse to step on the American and Israeli flags amid anti-government marches in the country and a warning to its leaders from Donald Trump to ‘not kill protesters’. 

The clip taken at Shaheed Beheshti University on Sunday shows crowds deliberately avoiding walking over the Stars and Stripes and the Star of David before furiously berating those that do. 

Ali Khamenei’s regime is said to have painted the flags at the main entrance of the university for students to walk over as a sign of disrespect. 

In 2016, Iranian professor Sadegh Zibakalam, who has avoided walking on the flags in the past, said: ‘It is a sign of disrespect toward that nation. Placing the flag of a country on the ground and stepping on it is an error, a sign of disrespect toward that nation.’

Thousands had on Saturday gathered in front of the gate of the Amirkabir University of Technology near the former US embassy in Tehran to protest the government and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for mistakenly downing a civilian passenger plane.  

President Trump issued a stark warning to the leaders of Iran Sunday, tweeting: ‘To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. 

‘More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!’

Stay tuned. America is once again standing up for freedom. We can’t and shouldn’t ‘nation build,’ but we can certainly encourage other people to work for freedom in their own countries.

Sometimes I Just Have No Words

We need to keep in mind that Qasem Soleimani was a terrorists. He was responsible for the killing and injuring of hundreds of American soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was responsible for killing hundreds of Iranian civilians who were protesting the current regime. He was the coordinator of various terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East and in other parts of the world. He was not simply a high-ranking government official in Iran–he was a cold-blooded murderer.

Below is some of the insanity of the American media in dealing with the death of Soleimani (posted on YouTube January 10th):

 

The Person Not Mentioned

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article posted an article about the other major terrorist that was killed in the attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani.

The article reports:

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani wasn’t the only major-league terrorist killed in the drone strike ordered by Donald Trump. Also killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi paramilitary leader whose long, bloody career includes attacks on American and other Western embassies, as well as being a founder of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.

In 2009, the U.S. sanctioned both al-Muhandis and Kata’ib Hezbollah as terrorist entities.

In some ways, killing al-Muhandis was more significant than the death of Soleimani. He’s been an active terrorist against the U.S. since the occupation of Iraq and helped create the umbrella Shia militia group Hashd al-Shaabi. Hashd was originally founded to fight ISIS in Iraq, but has morphed into a shadow organization exercising political and military control of Iraq on behalf of Iran.

The article concludes:

The Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) is ostensibly part of the Iraqi security services. But Muhandis ran it as his own little fiefdom, defying the Iraqi government on occasion in order to do the bidding of his masters in Tehran.

Today the PMF and allied militias control large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria, where they are allied with President Bashar Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Israel and the U.S. view the groups as part of an aggressive Iranian campaign to dominate the region.

Over the summer, PMF groups blamed Israel for mysterious drone attacks that targeted their positions in Iraq. The strikes eventually lead to the restructuring of the PMF to integrate them into the Iraqi military. The restructuring was approved by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The death of Muhandis is a tremendous blow to Iranian influence in Iraq. Since Hashd exercised influence throughout the region, his death will be felt from Damascus to Beirut to Tehran. Muhandis was seen as something of a hero by many Shias in Iraq. But the fact is, he was a murderous, hateful fanatic who was an enemy of the United States and a threat to American interests and personnel.

We need to leave Iraq. However, eliminating some of the Iranian terrorists working in that country would be a really nice legacy.

Guilty As Charged

On September 19th, I posted an article about Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, an airplane mechanic accused of sabotaging an airplane about to take off at Miami International Airport in July.

The Washington Times posted an article on Wednesday about Mr. Alani’s trial.

The article reports:

A longtime airline mechanic with some possible links to Muslim extremists pleaded guilty Wednesday to sabotaging a jetliner with 150 people aboard, causing the pilot to abort the flight just before takeoff at Miami International Airport.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani entered the plea in Miami federal court. He previously admitted to investigators that he committed the sabotage, insisting it was an attempt to gain overtime to fix the American Airlines jet – which he did.

“I do admit the guilt,” Alani, shackled and wearing tan jail clothing, said through an Arabic interpreter.

Alani, 60, is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Iraq who had been an airline mechanic for 30 years. Prosecutors say he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the Islamic State extremist group and that he had made statements wishing Allah would use “divine powers” to harm non-Muslims.

Investigators said Alani also had Islamic State videos on his phone depicting mass murders and that he traveled to Iraq in March but did not disclose that to the FBI after his arrest.

Despite that evidence, Alani was never charged with any terrorism-related crime. He pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Alani will likely get less prison time when he is sentenced March 4.

Court documents show the sabotage involved gluing Styrofoam inside the nose of the Boeing 737 so that it disabled a component pilots use to monitor things such as airspeed, altitude and the pitch of the plane. Authorities say if the flight had taken off as planned July 17 for Nassau, Bahamas, the sabotage could have caused a crash.

Many of Alani’s actions that day were captured on surveillance video and he was identified by fellow workers.

I wonder why this man was not charged with terrorism. It may be that the government felt that their case was not strong enough. However, the government (and we the people) need to understand that terrorists are probing all the time to find weak spots in our defenses. It terrorists realize that they can commit terrorism and not have it recognized as such, they may become more bold. Thank God the plane did not go down. This could have been much worse. Mishandling of this case could easily result in terrorists feeling they have a green light to commit terrorism because the consequences, whether they succeed or fail, will be minimal.

This Needed To Be Done

Yesterday CBN News posted an article about President Trump’s visit to the United Nations.

The article reports:

On Monday, President Donald Trump made history with a big push for the United Nations to truly focus its attention on global religious liberty

On the first day of a three-day scheduled visit during the UN’s General Assembly, the President’s big focus was a meeting about the worldwide persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians.

The event called a “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom,” was attended by key evangelical leaders including Franklin Graham, Paula White, Jentezen Franklin, Tim Clinton, and Cissie Graham Lynch. The president was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump began his remarks by saying, “The United States is founded on the principle that our rights don’t come from government, they come from God.”

He said the facts are clear that 80 percent of the world doesn’t enjoy the same protection for religious freedom that US citizens enjoy.

Trump said it was an “urgent moral duty” for world leaders to stop crimes against faith.

“The United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution, to stop the crimes against prisoners of faith, to release prisoners of conscience,” Trump said.

The Trump administration has hosted annual meetings on the topic in Washington, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced during this year’s event that he would create an international alliance dedicated to the issue.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission includes the following members: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, South Africa, and Pakistan. In most of these countries, religious freedom is an impossible dream. In South Africa, white farmers are being murdered and their land taken. This is the United Nations President Trump is working with. I admire his effort, but I believe that the United Nations has become so corrupt that they are no longer an organization capable of working toward either peace or freedom. They need to be kicked out of New York City and dissolved.

 

The Strange Case of Julian Assange

Yesterday NewsbustersNewsbusters posted an article reminding us that the media once loved Julian Assange. Now, not so much.

The article reminds us:

Before the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 Campaign, WikiLeaks was responsible for many document dumps that harmed American national security, the most infamous case involving a U.S. Army private then known as Bradley Manning. WikiLeaks also put at risk the lives of informants working for U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during that time, when WikiLeaks endangered lives and undermined U.S. war efforts, that the press sang its praises as a truth-telling and information-gathering organization.

The article lists a number of examples of news stories praising Assange for revealing ‘behind the scenes’ information on military matters. They chose to ignore the fact that American lives were put at risk by what he did. Then came the hacking of the DNC. Somehow the story changed–then Assange became a villain in the eyes of the media.

The article concludes:

Even if it wasn’t known in 2010 that WikiLeaks was an arm of Russian intelligence, Jullian Assange was enemy of the United States before, during, and after the 2016 hack into the e-mails of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, but the media only uniformaly came out against Assange when it appeared that his work would hurt Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, not when he was endangering lives by undermining U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a few things I want to remind people of as this story unfolds. Jullian Assange has repeatedly stated that the DNC leaks did not come from Russia. There is speculation that they may have come from a lost cell phone of John Podesta (with the password ‘password’) or from a leaker inside the DNC who was concerned that the primary election was being rigged for Hillary Clinton (Seth Rich?). I would also add that if you supported the leaking of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, then you should probably support Jullian Assange. Just for the record, Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for stealing and holding secret documents, but the judge in the case declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges.

I don’t support leaking military information, but when there are shenanigans going on in a political campaign, I am grateful when it is revealed.

 

How’s That Refugee Program Working For You?

We have all seen or heard about the increase in crime in countries that have taken in large numbers of Muslim refugees. We have been told that it is safe to do so despite the fact that a large number of these refugees are military-aged young men with no women in sight. Vetting is questionable at best, and recently the United States Justice Department announced that an Iraqi wanted for murder in Iraq was arrested in California (story here).

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article that told the following story:

Ashwaq was kidnapped by ISIS in 2014 when the terrorist group attacked Kurdistan-Iraq.

When Ashwaq fled to Germany she saw the man who sold her as a sex slave. The man confronted her on the street and asked her if she was Ashwaq. She told him, “No, I don’t know an Ashwaq. I don’t know you.” The man responded, “Yes, I know you and you know me. And I know how long you’ve been living here.” She said she was so scared she could hardly talk. He said, “Yes I am Abu Humam and you are Ashwaq.” He then told her, “I know that you live with your mother and your brother.” And he repeated her address.

Ashwaq says many Yazidi women have seen their Islamic state abusers on the street in Germany.

Obviously Abu Humam and any of his friends that might be a threat to Ashwaq or her family need to be promptly arrested. I seriously doubt that will happen. The percentage of Muslims of military age in Germany has reached the point where the police are reluctant to take action against them. When German women and children were being molested by young Muslim men in public swimming pools, the Germans simply put out leaflets explaining that molesting women and children in public was not acceptable behavior in Germany. Some pools have posted security guards, and some pools have simply banned Muslims. This is the result of uncontrolled immigration. Military-aged male Muslim immigrants need to be send home to clean up their own countries.

Unfortunately This Is Actually Plausable

The Washington Times posted an opinion piece today about President Obama. The title of the opinion piece is “America really did have a Manchurian Candidate in the White House.” The piece lists some of the actions of the Obama administration that weakened America and caused discord around the world.

The piece notes:

After returning from a tour of some of the war zones in the Middle East — which ended with the Free Iran Gathering 2018 in Paris — I am struck by the realization that America really did have a Manchurian Candidate in The White House for eight years. If you look at the evidence, there really is no other conclusion. The calamitous consequences of the Obama presidency will be felt for the foreseeable future.

In the short year and a half that President Trump has been in office, he has put in place policy that has mitigated the damage that President Obama inflicted on our national security and on our allies. The speed with which Trump has been able to turn things around points to the diabolical depths the Obama administration went to in order to undermine our national strength and way of life. All Trump had to do was stop doing things that hurt America; America could then take care of itself. The results are plain as day. However, it will take decades for the Obama damage to be completely undone. The deviousness of the Obama sedition runs deep.

Some examples cited were the support of an Egyptian President with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi, who had given up his nuclear weapons, the premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, and the Iran treaty. Any one of these policies could be viewed individually as bad judgment, but when you look at all of these decisions together, there is a pattern. All of these policy decisions weakened America and made the world less safe. It is extremely doubtful that was simply a coincidence.

Please follow the link above to read the entire piece.

Cultures Matter

America is not a perfect country, but we need to be grateful for the freedom it allows us. We need to make sure those who come here to live understand the freedoms and responsibilities of America and are willing to honor the laws of the country they now reside in. One of the challenges America is facing now is the assimilation of many legal immigrants who have no understanding of western law and western culture. That problem was illustrated recently by events in Texas.

The National Review posted an article today about Maarib Al Hishmawi, a sixteen-year old who was reported missing by her father.

The article reports:

Two Iraqi immigrants allegedly beat, choked and threw hot oil on their sixteen-year-old daughter because she refused to enter into an arranged marriage that would have netted her parents roughly $20,000, according to local police.

The couple, both of whom immigrated to San Antonio, Texas two years ago, are facing family abuse charges, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Authorities first became aware of the situation after the alleged victim, Maarib Al Hishmawi, was reported missing in January by her father, 34-year-old Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, according to the local CBS affiliate.

Maarib told police when she was found earlier this month that she ran away to avoid the arranged marriage, which she eventually consented to in order to stop the abuse.

…“Several times it was reported to us that this young lady was abused, with hot oil being thrown on her body. She was beaten by broomsticks. At one point she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness,” said Salazar.

Maarib and her five younger siblings have been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.

The man who planned to pay Maarib’s parents $20,000 to marry her will likely also face charges.

The thing to remember here is that this young lady is lucky to be alive. In Iraq, the parents could have killed her in what is called an honor killing. It is likely that the only reason she is still alive is because the parents wanted the $20,000 they would have received for selling her into marriage.

This is the type of problem that is created when immigrants do not understand the laws and practices of America and are not being taught to follow those laws.

This Is What Victory Looks Like

ISIS no longer controls Mosul. So what does that mean? On Christmas Eve, the Voice of America posted an article illustrating one thing that has changed since Mosul was captured by Iraqi forces.

The article reports:

For the first time in the more than three years since Islamic State militants took over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi Christians have gone to church to celebrate Christmas in Mosul — a former militant stronghold. Worshipers and Muslim activists say they are hoping the holidays may bring some healing.

During the time Islamic State militants ruled Mosul, this church was a prison.

Today, worshipers celebrate Christmas here for the first time since Islamic State militants took over the city in 2014, forcing the entire Christian population — about 200,000 people — to flee.

The article concludes:

Worshipers at this church say they hope to go home if or when they are more confident Mosul is safe, but so far, less than a dozen Christian families have returned.

Both Christians and Muslims attended the service today hoping that once again Mosul will start to re-grow its diversity.

Diversity in Muslim countries is rare. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where Christians, Jews, and Muslims can all worship freely. Many Middle Eastern countries will not allow someone to enter their country if the person has traveled to Israel. Unfortunately Iraq is now a satellite country of Iran, so we will see how long this freedom lasts.

When The Press Interferes With National Security

Terrorism is a worldwide problem. As ISIS is being defeated in Iraq, its members go to other parts of the world to commit terrorist acts. Bringing down ISIS worldwide would be a major step in the direction of peace. However, not everyone is working toward that goal.

Yesterday the following video was posted on YouTube:

An article at The Conservative Treehouse that included the above video. In the video, General Tony Thomas explains how leaked intelligence foiled the capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The article at The Conservative Treehouse quotes a Fox News story from July 21st:

“We have absolutely dismantled his network,”  Gen. Tony Thomas, speaking of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, said at the Aspen Security Forum. “I mean everyone who worked for him initially is dead or gone. Everybody who stepped to the plate the next time [is] dead or gone. Down through a network where we have killed, in a conservative estimate, 60,000 to 70,000 of his followers, his army.”

In a wide-ranging interview moderated by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Thomas, who leads the Special Operations Command, said his team was “particularly close” to Baghdadi after the 2015 raid that killed ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf. That raid also netted his wife, who provided a wealth of actionable information.

“That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Thomas said. “The challenge we have [is] in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly. There’s a great need to inform the American public about what we’re up to. There’s also great need to recognize things that will absolutely undercut our ability to do our job.”

The article mentions that the comment about a national newspaper probably refers to a New York Times article that appeared in June 2015.

I wonder how the Department of Justice would have handled this sort of leak during World War II. There is no doubt that this leak cost lives–either in America or other places around the world. A major international terrorist was allowed to escape because a newspaper wanted a headline. I understand that a free press is necessary for a representative republic such as America, but what about a responsible press?

 

There Is A Pattern Here That Needs To Be Acknowledged

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about terrorist attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan began May 26, and so far there have been three attacks and 149 dead, not counting yesterday’s attack in London.

The article reports:

Islamist terrorist groups usually use the holiday to mount more significant terrorist attacks, and promise their followers extra benefits for dying in such attacks during the holy month.

The major attacks of Ramadan 2017 include twin suicide bombings in Baghdad and a massive suicide borne vehicle bomb in Afghanistan. An unconfirmed terrorist incident also occurred at a casino hotel in Manila earlier this week. These attacks occurred before a reported deadly incident on London Bridge Saturday.

Make no mistake, Islam is not a religion of peace. The month of Ramadan is a time radical Muslims are encouraged to attack infidels. Western leaders need to understand that Islam has been at war with western civilization since before the founding of America. We can either fight this war or we can close our eyes in surrender. The choice is ours.

A Necessary Explanation

President Trump has referred to ISIS. President Obama referred to ISIL. What is the difference, and why should we care? Actually the difference is significant, and the change is an important step in the right direction.

On Wednesday the American Center for Law and Justice posted an article on their website explaining the difference between ISIS and ISIL.

This is the essence of that article:

The change of leadership in the White House just produced a striking change of terminology in the war against the Islamic State terrorist group. The name preferred by the Obama Administration, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (or ISIL) goes away. In its place comes the name favored by President Donald Trump: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

A February 13, 2017 memo from the Office of the Secretary of Defense James Mattis says the switch to “ISIS” makes the Pentagon “consistent with” Trump’s language in a January 28 directive in which he called for a new plan to defeat the extremist group. That plan, to utterly destroy the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, is due on the President’s desk today, although we may not know the details of the Pentagon’s recommendations for some time.

ISIS traces its roots to al-Qaida in Iraq, which declared an Islamic State of Iraq in 2006. In 2013 the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, renamed it the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Al-Sham is an Arabic word for a vaguely defined territory that includes what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, virtually all of the Middle East. It is often translated as the Levant, the closest English term for the territory it describes and the term preferred by the Obama Administration. Alarmingly, the concept of Levant lumps Israel in with all the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean in a nameless and demeaning fashion, thus denying that the historic land of Israel even dates back to the time of Abraham as their ancestor.

Al-Baghdadi claimed that the territory under his control would be a Caliphate, or Islamic State.  ISIS further believes, while it is not yet a political or geographical reality, that even now their self-proclaimed Caliphate is the moral and religious authority for this entire region, including the nation of Israel. Consistent with this viewpoint, violence is justified, even encouraged, against the Infidels living in these lands who do not recognize the “lawful” authority of the Islamic Caliphate.

Parenthetically, the opponents of ISIS in Iraq and other Arab countries call the Islamic State Daesh, an Arabic acronym corresponding to ISIS. The term is deliberately designed to mock and insult ISIS because it diminishes its territorial claims. It is also close to the word “dahesh” meaning “one who tramples,” an apt expression for the majority of the Muslim world who oppose the terrorist organization.

All of this makes the Obama Administration’s preference for the term “ISIL” all the more disturbing. In contrast with the Trump Administration’s decision to officially refer to ISIS, the Obama Administration’s official policy referred to the Islamic State as ISIL. Why?

The very term “ISIL,” with its intentional connection to the Levant as the land from which this murderous group would rule the Middle East, is aspirational. It reflects the ambitions of ISIS and its leader, al-Baghdadi. It elevates the group’s territorial conquests. This provokes two questions: (1) Why would then-President Obama, or anyone else for that matter, want to acknowledge the claims of a group of genocidal jihadists and use the name that this hateful group prefers? And 2) Why would anyone use a name that constitutes an encouragement for this bloody group which reifies their objective of conquering all of the Middle East, if not the world?

Provoked by such changes, since November 2015 the ACLJ has been critical of the terminology preferred by both the terror organization and President Obama. We have contended for almost two years that the name ISIL tacitly acknowledges the irrational claims of the terrorist group. To call them ISIL legitimizes this radical Islamic group, which commits genocide on Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities and murders all who stand in their way, including their fellow Muslims.

This is another example of the Trump Administration’s understanding the fact that Israel is our only true ally in the Middle East and that we need to support them in every way possible. Somehow the Obama Administration was not willing to do that.

Not Comforting News

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall today about an investigative report done by CNN. The report states that the Venezuelan government has been issuing official passports in Iraq  to anyone who is willing to pay for them–even if they have ties to terrorism.

The article reports:

One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela‘s new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID’s that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.  

The article at Townhall reminds us that Venezuela is a close ally of Iran. Iran is the backer and money behind Hezbollah. Until 9/11, Hezbollah was the most prevalent terrorist organization in the work, and before 9/11, responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. A dubious honor at best.

The article further reports:

ISIS, which has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal to purchase official passports. Additionally, the terror army has set up their own fraudulent passport system. 

President Trump recently signed an executive order barring all refugees and visas holders from seven countries, including Iraq and Syria, without proper vetting procedures.

I think this report shows the wisdom of that ban.

 

 

While We Were Watching The Election Campaign

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the battle in Dabiq, Syria.

The article reports:

Dabiq is the Syrian village that ISIS promised would be the scene of an apocalyptic showdown, an Armageddon, in which Muslims would win a great battle against the infidels, consisting of 80 nations each ten thousand strong. But recently, as I noted here, ISIS had to abandon Dabiq under pressure from Free Syrian rebels backed by Turkish and U.S. air power.

ISIS’s occupation ended not with an apocalypse, but a whimper.

ISIS has an explanation, though. Will McCants of Jihadica reports that ISIS says the conditions for its apocalyptic prophesy were not present in Dabiq just now. For one thing, the “Mahdi,” a messiah figure, did not appear to lead the battle (the reason for his no-show is unclear). Not only that, the expected 80 infidel armies did not turn up to be defeated.

Prophesy is a difficult racket.

It is good to know that some progress is being made against ISIS. However, we need to remember why ISIS exists. ISIS is the result of the failure of the American State Department under the Obama Administration to secure a reasonable status of forces agreement with Iraq after President Obama took office. President Obama was so obsessed with being the President who ended the war in Iraq that he did not take the necessary steps to secure the victory. A war is not over until both sides have stopped fighting. Somewhere along the way, President Obama decided he had the power to unilaterally end the war in Iraq. Obviously, he didn’t, and our military is currently paying the price for that decision. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State at the time, Hillary Clinton, is no smarter now than she was then. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for further chaos in the Middle East. However, it is good to know that at least in this case, ISIS was routed and their plans altered.

Lying Is Not Acceptable

The idea that we are all Americans working together for the good of our country has somehow been lost in recent years. We have lost our identity as a nation and are sacrificing the lives of our military as a result. Regardless of how you felt (or feel) about the war in Iraq (or realize that one of the main reasons we went into that war was to salvage the UN peace deal that had been worked out with Saddam Hussein), leaving the war the way we did caused problems. What has come to light in the past few days is the fact that the Obama Administration has been lying to Americans about the progress made against ISIS since we left Iraq after the war.

Yesterday Fox News posted a story about the findings of a House Republican task force regarding what Americans have been told about ISIS.

The article reports:

Intelligence reports produced by U.S. Central Command that tracked the Islamic State’s 2014-15 rise in Iraq and Syria were skewed to present a rosier picture of the situation on the ground, according to a bombshell report released Thursday by a House Republican task force. 

The task force investigated a Defense Department whistleblower’s allegations that higher-ups manipulated analysts’ findings to make the campaign against ISIS appear more successful to the American public. 

The report concluded that intelligence reports from Central Command were, in fact, “inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts.”

Further, the report found, “these products also consistently described U.S. actions in a more positive light than other assessments from the [intelligence community] and were typically more optimistic than actual events warranted.” 

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who was involved in the House report, said Thursday the data was clearly “manipulated.”

“They wanted to tell a story that ISIS was the JV, that we had Al Qaeda on the run,” he told Fox News. “This is incredibly dangerous. We haven’t seen this kind of manipulation of intelligence … in an awfully long time.” 

Those of us with family members in the military need to remember this when we vote in November. For whatever reason, the Democrats record on military issues–defense spending, military benefits, VA hospitals, etc.–is horrendous. If you want the American military to remain strong, you have no alternative but to vote Republican.

About That Last Republican Debate

I will confess that I did not watch the entire Republican debate. I don’t deal well with cage fights. However, I did see the part of the debate where Donald Trump attacked Jeb Bush for the actions of George W. Bush in Iraq. Aside from the fact that it was totally tacky to attack George Bush on his brother’s record, all of the charges made were simply false.

Donald Trump seems to have forgotten that there were a number of reasons why we went into Iraq. Saddam Hussein was consistently violating a United Nations established no-fly zone–therefore, the credibility of the UN was at stake (I would just as soon get rid of the UN, but that was the situation). Saddam Hussein had already used poison gas on the Kurds (WMD). Saddam Hussein had previously fought with Iran and invaded Kuwait, and was not a stabilizing force in the region, and Saddam Hussein was training terrorists (google the airliner frame that was used to practice hijackings).

In 2006, Fox News posted a story about the discovery of WMD’s in Iraq. The Bush White House decided not to make a big deal of the discovery. I think this was a mistake, but you can follow the link to read the article.

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article that sheds some light on the fact that we were not ready for 9/11.

Some excerpts from The Washington Times article:

As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hammers away at former President George W. Bush for not stopping the September 11 attacks, another factor could be added to the debate: Mr. Bush inherited from Bill Clinton an intelligence community in terrible shape.

This fact comes not from a Republican partisan but from George Tenet, President Clinton’s CIA director, a post that at the time made him the country’s top intelligence officer.

…In addition to Mr. Tenet’s book, other intelligence sources have told The Washington Times that the CIA in the 1990s dramatic cut the number of case officers — the people who recruit spies — from 1,600 to 1,200. The CIA closed operating bases, even the one in Hamburg, Germany, where September 11 Islamists plotted the attack. The NSA, the nation’s listening post, was not keeping up with the Internet revolution and was stymied at times by cell phone technology.

Mr. Bush reversed that trend by pouring billions of dollars into the CIA to hire new officers and into the NSA to set up new technology development units.

Mr. Tenet wrote that he personally asked President Clinton for billions more, but received no increase.

…“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right?” Trump said Saturday at a debate in South Carolina.  “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”

With that line, Mr. Trump is picking up the slogans of the left wing which said, “Bush lied, troops died.”

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a special blue-ribbon panel looked into the claim, and both unanimously concluded the WMD finding was solely the product of the intelligence community, free of White House interference. Neither Mr. Bush nor the CIA lied, the panels said.

So I have a few questions about this attack. Why was Donald Trump spouting Democratic talking points? He also failed to mention that because of the actions of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, President Bush was not able to put his security team in place in a timely manner–his election was declared later than usual and he was delayed in putting his people in place. Donald Trump also failed to mention that Iraq was on its way to being a stable ally before President Obama prematurely withdrew his troops.

I am not a supporter of Jeb Bush, and I believe that his response to this attack was totally ineffective, but the attack was totally out of line and inappropriate. If I were a supporter of Donald Trump (which I am not) his actions during this debate would cause me to reconsider.

We Obviously Need A New Foreign Policy

Jim Geraghty posted an article in The Corner at National Review today about the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the article he reminds us that CNN reported the following:

During a National Security Council meeting held at the Pentagon on Dec. 14, President Barack Obama told top military officials and other officials he wanted to see a better job of having the so-called “narrative” of the war on ISIS communicated to the American people, a senior defense official told CNN.

Communication is not the problem.

The article at The Corner reports:

In Afghanistan, Taliban Controls Most Territory Since 2001; ISIS Preparing ‘Greatest Religious Cleansing in History

The story includes this report from a German journalist:

A German journalist who spent 10 days with Islamic State says that the radical jihadist group that has captured wide swaths of Syria and Iraq is deterred by only one Middle Eastern country – Israel.

In an interview with the British Jewish News, Jurgen Todenhofer recalls his brief time behind enemy lines during which he spoke with ISIS fighters.

“The only country ISIS fears is Israel,” Todenhofer, a former member of the German parliament, told Jewish News. “They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”

The writer said that ISIS wants to lure British and American forces into Syria and Iraq, areas where it thinks it has an advantage.

“They think they can defeat US and UK ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies,” he told Jewish News. “But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists.

This doesn’t sound as if we are making progress in the War on Terror.

From A Friend On Facebook

I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a great story.

One of my sons serves in the military. He is still stateside, here in California. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere he goes, telling me how people shake their hands and thank them for being willing to serve and fight for not only our own freedoms, but so that others may have them also.

But he also told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday on his way home from the base. He said that ahead of several people in front of him stood a woman dressed in a burkha.

He said when she got to the cashier she loudly remarked about the U.S. flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin, and said proudly, “Yes, I always wear it and probably always will.”

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.

A gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward.

Putting his arm around my son’s shoulders and nodding towards my son, he said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn’t need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I’ll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq so you can straighten out the mess in YOUR country that you are obviously here in MY country to avoid.”

Everyone within hearing distance cheered!

Illogical Foreign Policy

The Kurds have been standing up to ISIS since ISIS decided to do horrible things in the Middle East. All of American aid to Iraq goes directly to the Iraqi troops who have, unfortunately, dropped their weapons and run away, giving ISIS access to some really good weapons technology. For whatever reason, the Obama Administration has consistently insisted that all weapons going to Iraq go through Baghdad to Iraqi troops and not directly to the Kurds (who obviously do not cut and run). Well, it’s even worse than that.

Yesterday the U.K. Telegraph reported that the Obama Administration is blocking the attempts of our Middle Eastern allies to send weapons directly to the Kurds.

The article reports:

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

I have very mixed emotions about this. First of all, the Gulf states should not need American approval to fight ISIS. They should automatically just do it. However, there is another side of this story. Fighting ISIS strengthens Iran. The only difference between the goals of ISIS and the goals of Iran is who will be in charge of the Islamic Caliphate they want to set up. ISIS and Iran both have plans for a worldwide caliphate which they plan to start in the Middle East. The dispute is over who will rule it and whether it will be Sunni or Shia. Both Iran and ISIS have plans to eliminate Israel, so supporting either one puts the Jewish state at risk. Note also that ISIL stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The Levant includes the land of Israel as part of the Islamic state.

The article further reports:

The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

I think we need to get out of the way and let the Arab states arm the Peshmerga. In terms of the Middle East, lately we seem to have a gift for coming down on the wrong side of history.

Actions Have Consequences

The withdrawal of American troops in Iraq paved the way for the ISIS takeover. Last Tuesday BBC News posted an article about what life in Mosul, Iraq, is like under ISIS.

I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article, but here is one example:

“One day I felt so bored at home that I asked my husband to take me out, even if I had to wear the full khimar [a long, cape-like veil that covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear]. I had not left home since IS took over the city. As I was preparing, he told me I would be forced to put on a niqab [veil for the face]. I was shocked at this and considered staying at home for a moment, but eventually I relented.

We went to a nice restaurant by the river we used to frequent during our engagement. As soon as we sat down, my husband told me that I could finally reveal my face as there was no IS presence and the restaurant was a place for families.

“I was very happy to oblige and so I revealed my face with a large smile. Instantly, the restaurant’s owner came over begging my husband to ask me to hide it again because Islamic State fighters made surprise inspection visits and he would be flogged if they saw me like that.

The article continues:

“I was threatened and harassed [by Sunni extremists] before the capture of Mosul, but I kept on delivering babies for women from all religions and sects. I never differentiate between my patients as I believe everyone deserves equal care.

“However, I had to flee as Mosul fell. I escaped with my body unharmed, but my soul remained where I had left it: at home with my books.

“After moving to Irbil [in Iraq’s Kurdistan region] I received shocking news: Islamic State had confiscated my house and marked it with the letter ‘N’ [for Nasrani – a word used by IS to refer to Christians]. I immediately telephoned my friends in Mosul and begged them to save my books.

“But it was too late. They called back saying my library had been emptied onto the street. However, some of my neighbours were able to rescue some precious books that remain hidden.”

Another story:

Fouad: “I was arrested by IS. They came to our family home looking for my brother. When they couldn’t find him, they decided to take me to prison instead.

“Then they tortured me. The guy who did it wouldn’t stop unless he got tired. He was edgy all the time and he wouldn’t listen to what his prisoners said. He flogged me with a power cable and also tortured me psychologically.

“When my brother handed himself in, they found out that the accusations against him were false but they still kept me in prison until they judged me well enough to leave.

“They had hit me so hard with the cable that the marks are still visible on my back.”

Daily life in Mosul:

“IS takes a quarter of everyone’s salary as a contribution towards paying for rebuilding the city. People can’t say no because they would face harsh punishments. The group controls everything. Rent is paid to it and the hospitals are for its members’ exclusive use.

“The group has even replaced the imams in the mosques with pro-IS people. Many of us have stopped going to the mosques because those attending are asked to give an oath of allegiance and we hate that.

“Meanwhile, my brother was given 20 lashes just because he didn’t shut his shop during prayer time – as if you can just impose religion by force!”

I don’t have an answer–I don’t want American troops there–this is a civil war and we need to stay out of it. However, the rise of ISIS is the result of letting Prime Minister Maliki purge the Iraqi government and army of Sunni Muslims. When President Obama allowed him to do this, we paved the way for what is happening now. The possible answer is to arm the Kurds directly–not go through Baghdad. Meanwhile, the people of Iraq suffer.

It’s Not The Fault Of The American Military

Fox News posted an article today quoting President Obama’s statement that “When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people. We don’t yet have a complete strategy.” The statement was made in reference to training Iraqis to fight the Islamic State.

It’s very hard for me not to go totally ballistic on this. Has President Obama forgotten that he ignored the requests of the military to leave American troops there to prevent the takeover of Iraq by Iran (which is essentially what has happened–if we fight against ISIS, we are fighting with Iran)? The American military leaders saw this coming–President Obama chose to ignore their advice. I have no doubt they are continuing to advise the President. I also have no doubt that he is continuing to ignore that advice.

As someone with a family member in the military, I don’t want to see any of our military put in harm’s way unless the rules of engagement are in our favor and unless there is a planned strategy. President Obama’s policies have offered neither.

Military leaders are all about plans for all contingencies and possibilities. President Obama is relying on the ignorance of the American people to avoid taking responsibility for the mess he has made of the Middle East.