Using Absurdity To Illustrate Absurdity

The DC Caller posted an article yesterday about some recent remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry. Secretary Kerry stated that air conditioning and refrigerants are as much of a threat to the world as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Really??!!

The article reports:

A user named Hopalong Ginsberg created the petition in response to remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry claiming air conditioning and refrigerants are as much of a threat to the world as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The petition garnered 1,869 signatures by Monday afternoon.

The petition states:

“WHEREAS, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has suggested that air conditioners are as big a threat as ISIS, and WHEREAS, it is the duty of our elected and appointed government officials to lead by example, THEREFORE, we call upon the U.S. Department of State to remove air conditioning from all property that the Department owns, rents, or otherwise employs, including but not limited to embassies, consulates, office buildings, etc., all vehicles owned and/or operated by the Department, and any other property, real or movable, owned, rented, or otherwise employed by the Department.”

…ISIS has killed some 2,043 people in 29 countries since 2014, according to CNN. The Daily Caller News Foundation was unable to obtain the latest data on how many deaths have occurred globally from air conditioning to compare the two.

I think we should all sign the petition.

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.

After A While You Wonder If They Mean Anything They Say

When American forces left Iraq, many military people warned that not leaving significant forces behind would be a mistake. The Obama Administration and many political leaders seemed to overlook the fact that we currently have forces in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, despite that fact that those wars have been over for a long time. Despite the warnings from military leaders, President Obama celebrated the fact that our troops were coming home from Iraq, and many Democrats celebrated with him. So what are these people saying now?

Politico posted an article today with the headline, “Liberal doves run as war hawks.”

The article cites a few examples:

Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole.

“We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”

Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.

…Take Bruce Braley, the Democratic Senate candidate in Iowa. He picked up a Republican-held House seat largely on the strength of his opposition to the war in Iraq. He backed cutting off funding for military operations and spoke out against the surge.

When his opponent warned at a 2006 debate of chaos if the U.S. cut and ran, Braley responded: “Chaos already is ensuing in Iraq.”

Just last August, Braley demanded Obama get congressional authorization before taking any military action in Syria.

Now Braley is running against military veteran Joni Ernst in one of the most contested Senate races in the country.

“ISIS is a threat that must be stopped,” Braley said during a debate Sunday. “Anytime American citizens are attacked by a terrorist group, they need to be brought to justice or to the grave.”

Follow the link to the article to read more wiggly-worm statements.

Admittedly, the situation in Iraq and the Middle East is fluid, but it is very obvious that many of the positions taken regarding the war in Iraq and the withdrawal of troops have been purely political. In this country there are men and women who love America more than they love political power. We need to start electing them.


The Consequences Of A Failed Foreign Policy

Today’s U.K. Telegraph posted an article about what is happening in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria (ISIS) has seized Mosul and is advancing toward Baghdad. How did this happen? This is the result of not signing a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi government after we officially ‘ended’ the Iraqi war. It is also the result of announcing to the people we were fighting exactly when we were leaving. However, these were not the first mistakes made in Iraq. Iraq had a real chance at democracy–it had been a united country in the past. However, our first mistake was to put United States approval on a constitution that recognized Sharia Law. We really did not take the steps to insure democracy–Sharia Law and democracy are not compatible. So where are we now?

The article in the U.K. Telegraph reports:

ISIS are pure terrorists: their strategy is to use extreme violence to drive Iraq into a sectarian melee. The group knows that with each atrocity it commits, Iraq’s geographic borders and government institutions lose form. That with each Shia market it bombs, Iraq moves closer to the bloody civil war of 2006 (Shia terrorist groups are far from silent). That with each ISIS victory, Iraq’s basic viability becomes ever more tenuous. Exacerbating the crisis is Maliki’s long term authoritarianism: this has empowered ISIS.

The article concludes:

Obviously, this places the West in a serious bind. Whatever some might say, forming an alliance with Iran to fight ISIS would be a disaster. Still, America cannot allow Iraq to collapse. Too much of our blood and our allies’ blood has already been spilled for that nation’s future. Those sacrifices must not be in vain. Correspondingly, the US should adopt a new, comprehensive regional strategy. Recognising that only the US government has the intelligence and logistics capabilities Iraq so desperately needs, Obama should support Maliki with the caveat that the Iraqi leader make reciprocal concessions. These must include power transfers to Iraqi Sunni-centered political parties and the establishment of independent democratic institutions that can cool sectarian flames over the longer term. These commitments must take form beyond words.

Regardless, we’ve heard for far too long that our absence from the Middle East would best serve our interests. Now we’re learning the opposite is true. No one wants more Iraq wars, but we must face the geopolitical disaster unfolding before us.

There is no way we can or should go back into Iraq. Unfortunately, the war that we have let fester in Syria is playing a major part in the battle for Iraq–Iran is using Iraq as a freeway to get supplies to the government of Syria. American dependence on Middle Eastern oil also complicates our options in this situation.

The thing to remember here is that the goal of Iran, a country which is up to its neck in the chaos of the Middle East, is to set up a caliphate that would include Iran, Iraq, Syria, parts (eventually all) of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. (and what is now Israel). Iran will begin to fast track that program as soon as it gets both the missiles and bombs to carry out its mission. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is negotiating with Iran while they move toward their goals.

You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it and its political party out of office in 2014 and 2016.

What Goes Around Comes Around

The New York Times posted a story today about a training class in Iraq that went horribly wrong (at least for the students).

The article reports:

A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.

The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.

Unfortunately Iraq is falling into total disarray since the Americans left. This incident during a training class for suicide bombers is one example of that disarray. Recently Al Qaeda raised its flag in Falluja, an act that represented the failure of the Iraqi government to control that city.

The article further reports:

But Iraq is developing a plan, with help from the United States, that would have Sunni tribes take the lead in ending the standoff with ISIS in Falluja, with the Iraqi Army in support, a senior State Department official told Congress last week.

The official, Brett McGurk, said that ISIS had about 2,000 fighters in Iraq, and that its longer-term objective is to establish a base of operations in Baghdad, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been officially designated as a global terrorist by the State Department.

The rise of terrorism and the rise of Al Qaeda are a result of the weak image America under President Obama is projecting. We shouldn’t be sending troops all over the world, but there should be an implicit threat that we will deal with terrorists and that we have the strength to do so. Right now that threat is not there.

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Why In The World Should We Support These People???

Today’s New York Post posted an article about a recent beheading by the Syrian rebels.

The article reports:

A group of Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels beheaded a fighter then triumphantly waved his head in the air as a trophy — only to discover the poor guy was actually one of their own, London’s The Telegraph reports.

…The rebel group apologized for the gruesome case of mistaken identity on Thursday , asking for “understanding and forgiveness.”

There was no remorse at all about beheading someone–the remorse was that they beheaded one of their own. Is this the level of civilization that we need to encourage or fund?


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Why We Still Need Guantanamo

One of the reasons cited for closing the prison at Guantanamo has been that the terrorists held there should be repatriated to their home countries. In theory that is a great idea–why should we pay the kind of money we are paying to provide soccer fields, special food, and flat screen televisions for terrorists? The jails in their home countries are much more in line with the punishment they deserve. Unfortunately, there are some problems with that idea. These problems were illustrated by some recent news stories.

Reuters has posted two stories recently about jailbreaks in Pakistan and Iraq where the Taliban freed terrorists inmates. (July 30, and July 23)

The July 30 story is about a jail break in Pakistan where the Taliban freed 250 prisoners. That article reported:

The attack in the city of Dera Ismail Khan showed the ability of the al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban to strike at the heart of Pakistan’s heavily guarded prison system and walk away with dozens of senior Taliban fighters and commanders.

The overnight assault on the Central Prison took place despite reports that regional officials had received intelligence days, if not weeks, ago suggesting such an attack was imminent.

Officials blamed a combination of negligence and lack of communication among Pakistan’s many security agencies, but some suggested there may have been a degree of insider help.

The July 23 story deals with an attack on two Iraqi prisons that freed 500 inmates. The July 23 story reports:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, formed earlier this year through a merger of al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria and Iraq, said it had stormed Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail and another, some 20 km (12 miles) north of capital, after months of preparation.

Monday’s attacks came exactly a year after the leader of al Qaeda’s Iraqi branch, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, launched a “Breaking the Walls” campaign that made freeing its imprisoned members a top priority, the group said in a statement.

Sunni Islamist militants have in recent months been regaining momentum in their insurgency against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government, which came to power after the U.S. invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

The group said it had deployed suicide attackers, rockets, and 12 car bombs, killing 120 Iraqi guards and SWAT forces in the attacks in Taji, north of Baghdad, and Abu Ghraib, the prison made notorious a decade ago by photographs showing abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers.

One interesting aspect of the Iraqi prison break is contained in the first sentence of the above quote, “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, formed earlier this year through a merger of al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria and Iraq…” This is what has happened in Iraq because we did not negotiate a withdrawal that included enough American forces to prevent a civil war.

But beyond that, let’s look at what happened. Al Qaeda is reconstructing itself because there is a very limited American presence (and thus, influence) in the areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda needs foot soldiers–the leaders are somewhat expendable. The foot soldiers carry out the suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. The leaders of Al Qaeda do not do a lot of the work–they simply generate propaganda and supervise the suicide missions. As long as there are young men and women who are willing to undertake these suicide missions, the missions will continue. Al Qaeda has claimed that the attacks on the prisons in Pakistan and Iraq freed 750 prisoners. In those prison attacks, Al Qaeda just gained 750 foot soldiers. No wonder our embassies in the Middle East are shut down.

How much of this story have you seen in the American media?

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Why Energy Independence Is Important For All Countries

Yesterday the U.K. Telegraph posted a story about an interesting development in the Syrian civil war. Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda off-shoot has become the strongest faction of the rebels around the city of Raqqa and in the desert region to its east. The group is violently anti-Western.

The article reports that the group:

…has been steadily extending its control in the region, is selling the crude oil to local entrepreneurs, who use home-made refineries to produce low-grade petrol and other fuels for Syrians facing acute shortages.

The article explains:

In the battle for the future of the rebel cause, the oil-fields may begin to play an increasingly strategic role. All are in the three provinces closest to Iraq – Hasakeh, Deir al-Zour, and Raqqa, while the Iraqi border regions are the homeland of the Islamic State of Iraq, as al-Qaeda’s branch in the country calls itself.

We may have freed Iraq from the horrors of Saddam Hussein, but because we did not stay to finish the job, Iraq is not a free country–it is a satellite of Iran.

The article reports:

General Selim Idriss, the head of the western-backed opposition Military Council, has appealed for Western help specifically to seize the fields from Jabhat, but the forces required – he put it at 30,000 men – make that a pipe dream. Even pro-Western rebel militias in the area admit that the level of support received from the council is at present minimal.

They have promised to take on Jabhat al-Nusra once the fighting is over, but they are split and fighting among themselves, with their lack of money forcing some to turn to looting and extortion to fund themselves, further alienating the local population.

Arming the rebels in Syria right now would be a mistake–it would be arming al-Qaeda at the risk of having the weapons given used against us in the Middle East or in terrorist attacks elsewhere. The rebels that we would be arming are not in control, and arming them would be somewhat futile. So what is our option? We need to do everything we can to get innocent civilians out of the country and to provide them with food and shelter. We can let the anti-Western Islamists fight among themselves–there are no good guys with any power in this war. If we were actually dumb enough to enter this war, the rebels and the government forces would probably unite against us–after all, we are the infidels.

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