That Caliphate Bin Laden Promised

As the Washington Post describes Iraq as “on the brink of disintegration,” the Prez says “all options are on the table.”  Based on our refusal to help Iraq the last few months, despite their ever-more-urgent pleas for airstrikes,  it seems we’re going with the “let the whole thing go to Hell” option.

The Islamic extremists carving their “caliphate” out of Syria and Iraq, ISIS, are so radical and so violent that they were kicked out of Al Qaeda!  Think about that…

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki refused to reach out to his Sunni population, running a purely Shiite show, so now his Sunnis won’t fight for him, and the American weapons and armored vehicles they abandon as they flee are going to the jihadists.  Your tax dollars at work…   You can train and equip soldiers, as we very expensively did in Iraq, but if they have no loyalty to their government and won’t fight for it, what are you gonna do?

We have been unable to bring Afghanistan out of the seventh century.  Now Iraq seems about to join them.

Bin Laden is dead — his vision, not so much.

Asking Forgiveness, Not Permission

The White House sadly has gotten to DiFi.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had been very critical of the Bergdahl-Taliban Five trade, especially the failure to notify Congress.

Today she backed off:

“I think we need to put an end to all of this now. I think enough is enough. I think the Senate has had a hearing and the House has had a hearing. Everybody has heard what they need to hear.”

When the trade was under consideration in the past and Congress was in the loop, Feinstein strongly opposed letting those five Gitmo prisoners go free, as did others of both parties.  I think it’s become clear that the lack of notification wasn’t a fear that Bergdahl would die from health issues or be killed by his captors, but a fear that Congressional leaders, having opposed this trade in the past, would oppose it now.  The Administration decided it was better to ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Releasing Terrorists While Spying on Us

Okay, so the Prez says it’s perfectly fine to release these five top Taliban terrorists.  But at the same time, the Prez says we’re in so much danger from the terrorists that he has to gather everybody’s phone calls and emails.

So all of us average, loyal Americans who are being watched constantly are a threat, but the real bad guys aren’t?

This inexcusable, incoherent policy gives us the worst of both worlds — putting our lives more at risk while taking away our rights.

How can anyone justify both the Taliban deal and the NSA surveillance?


OK, Let’s Just Pay the Caped SOB

I am someone who would like to get out of Afghanistan yesterday, in terms of attempting to bring democracy or even stability to that medieval hellhole.

But today’s front-page story in the NYT* convinces me that we need to leave some troops.  Without them, we can’t have our drone bases, which means we can’t reach Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s frontier region and we’ll have a much bigger challenge if (when?) there’s a nuclear weapons crisis in Pakistan.

OK, you’ve scared me enough.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai has so far refused to sign the agreement for us to leave troops beyond the end of this year.  Just wire the money he wants into his Swiss bank account and let’s be done with it.

“Afghan Exit Is Seen As Peril To Drone Mission,” David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt

Prez Cuts Off Own Balls

And maybe the balls of future presidents…

With his announcement that he won’t do missile strikes in Syria in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons without going to Congress for approval, President Obama is now effectively neutured for the rest of his term in both domestic and foreign policy.  If he can’t take this teeny, tiny step — which is not going to war with Syria — then he can’t do anything militarily without going to Congress.  He was already stymied on domestic stuff because of the filibuster in the Senate and the crazies in the House, and now he’s basically given up as Commander in Chief.  The Constitution calls for one Commander in Chief, not 536.

Whether or not we should intervene in Syria’s civil war is another question entirely.  This was simply Obama telling Assad that he was welcome to continue his civil war with impunity, he just couldn’t use chemical weapons.  This was about enforcing an almost hundred-year-old, broad international consensus against the use of chemical weapons.

As for the American people being war weary, look, using our military power comes with the territory of being an American, which most of you seem to enjoy.  If you don’t like it, there’s lots of places to cross the Canadian border.  Which maybe explains Ted Cruz’s attitude, since that’s where he’s from.  I myself would like to leave Afghanistan tomorrow, but I’m weary (and wary) of Hamid Karzai, which is not at all the same as being war weary.  But again, this isn’t about starting a new war, this isn’t at all analogous to sending 150,000 troops into Iraq.  This is the military equivalent of a “cup of coffee” in baseball.

So now he’s helped the Rand Paul-Ted Cruz wing of the GOP.  So now they’re laughing at us in Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran.

And how does he think he’s going to win this vote? If he’s counting on the “hawkish” Republicans, fuhgeddaboudit.  They’ll tell their constituents they voted no because the President didn’t want to do enough against Assad.  See McCain, John and Graham, Lindsey.   Plus losing the votes of those on the left and the libertarian right who don’t want to do anything against Assad.

You lost me today, Barry.  From now on, you’re only someone that I used to love.