John Stossel, in his plain-speaking, clear-headed way, deplores Obama’s failed economic policies:
President Obama sure is consistent. His State of the Union address sounded like his other speeches: What I’ve done is great! America is in a much better position. We’ve created a manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs. More oil is produced at home. I cut deficits in half!
Give me a break. The deficit is lower now not because of any prudence on Obama’s part but merely because the $800 billion stimulus spending blowout didn’t continue. All the president does is increase spending: free community college, free Obamaphones, free birth control, etc. Yes, our annual deficit is lower, but it’s still $488 billion! Our $18 trillion national debt increases by $3 million every minute!
Yes, more oil is produced at home, but that’s in spite of the administration. Oil production is down on public land.
Yes, the manufacturing sector added jobs, but that’s mostly because of cheaper natural gas created by fracking, which Obama’s cronies opposed. Also, America is finally recovering from recession. Obama’s policies probably slowed that recovery.
Does the President delude himself when he takes credit for oil production, lower deficits, etc.? Or does he mislead on purpose? I don’t know.
More recently he bragged, “I created the lowest unemployment rate in years.” He created it? He must know it’s “low” only compared to the 10 percent reached during the recession — and because millions have simply given up looking for work. This recovery is the slowest in 70 years.
Then he goes on to propose a very different speech from the one Obama gave last night:
If Obama gave the State of the Union address I’d like to hear, he’d say this:
I heard you, voters, in November when you took control of the Senate away from my party. I get it. I overreached. I was arrogant. I imposed Obamacare on a nation that was deeply divided about it. I ruled through executive orders instead of legislation. I threw money at “green” nonsense. …
We’ve cut a bit out there, because at that point he pulled out the biggest bone of contention we have with libertarians like John Stossel: defense. He wants less spent on it – as Obama does – and we want more spent on it.
I’ve been in government for years now. I know how badly it works. The last thing I should try to do is make it bigger. In fact, with Republicans now in control of Congress, it’s time I worked with them to shrink government. If we shrink it, we might even dig our way out of the debt hole we’re in. Heck, if we just slow the growth of government to 2 percent a year, we’d be in better shape.
But I didn’t even try to accomplish that. I pretended taxing the rich would solve our financial problems. But there aren’t enough rich people to tax.
That’s not what’s wrong with the idea. What’s wrong is the idea of redistribution itself. The right argument is against any form of redistribution by a central agency.
But on again:
I got drunk on the idea of promising voters “free” stuff such as low down-payment mortgages and guaranteed paid family leave. I told them that all good things come from government. That’s nonsense.
We should put an end to all bailouts. Businesses that screw up should accept the consequences, just like ordinary people who spend recklessly. Main Street should never again be forced to rescue Wall Street.
Instead of expanding government control of health care, we should phase it out. That includes Medicare. I know Medicare is popular, but it is unsustainable. Let current retirees receive their benefits as promised, but younger people should pay for their own health care.
People criticize the economic distortion created by welfare, but Medicare and Social Security are almost as bad. Both redistribute money away from the young and struggling toward those of us who have had decades to invest and save up.
To make these challenges a little easier to deal with, let’s make America richer by abolishing most regulations. They strangle opportunity.
The more I think about it, the more Congress and I could transform America for the better just by getting out of America’s way. The state of our union will be truly strong if the state – by which I mean government – is strictly limited.
That we would applaud.
Today we dare to go further than we ventured a few days ago when we wrote about the systematic weakening of America by its elected leader. (The taking down of America, December 1, 2014.)
We declare that Obama and his gang, and the greater part of the political party that put him in power, and the international Left, in alliance with Islam, are deliberately destroying America. That is to say, destroying America as the embodiment in a free republic of the idea of liberty under the rule of law. And are close to succeeding.
It is dumbfounding, gobsmacking, how blatant they are about it. How large their plan is writ across their term in power. How openly they do their dirty deeds. They hardly take any pains to disguise their ugly intentions. And yet how the people of America and the world beyond it have managed not to notice, or fully comprehend, what is happening!
David Solway, writing at PJ Media, assembles the evidence that the general public seems unable or unwilling to see, and ponders the horrible work in progress towards the destruction of America.
In [his book] Marked for Death, Geert Wilders argues that Islam has marked not only him but ultimately every freedom-loving individual and so-called “Islamophobe” for death because of the supremacist nature of its doctrines. What outrages Wilders, in addition to the Islamic threat and the demographic inroads the religion of war is carving into the European urban landscape, is the scandalous complicity of Europe’s governing elites, leading to the eventual subversion of the continent. Although Wilders does not address American vulnerability in any detailed way, what must surely strike a disinterested observer is the equal complicity with which the commander in chief of the United States is pursuing a program of American decline. On the domestic, economic, military, and foreign policy fronts, Obama is energetically and probably irretrievably weakening the country he has sworn to defend, with surprisingly little concerted opposition, or even awareness, from many politicians or from the still-infatuated members of his constituency.
We think the infatuated members of his constituency, or most of them, are aware – and applaud him for it. They want what he wants.
To start with Islam, it is mind-boggling to observe an American president vigorously facilitating the Islamic imperial agenda in a number of different but equally effective ways. He could not do better — or worse — if he were a transplanted Qatari sheikh. One notes the infamous Cairo address with its bloat of lies and factoids. The UN speeches, such as “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The elevation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives into sensitive posts in his administration. Islamic outreach through official institutions such as NASA, once designed for space exploration, now, apparently, for Muslim apologetics. Iftar dinners at the White House. Congratulatory letters to mosques and his designation of terror attacks as “workplace violence”, “man-caused disasters” and “traffic incidents”. His concessionary engaging in a secret correspondence with Iran’s anti-American and anti-Semitic Ayatollah Khamenei. The withdrawing of troops from Iraq, thus opening the way for the establishment of the Islamic State. The purging of FBI training manuals of all reference to jihad. And the interviews in which Obama claims that the U.S. is “one of the biggest Muslim nations”. (In actuality, professing Muslims count for 1.5% of the American people, in comparison, for example, to Muslims amounting to 13% of India’s census.)
But it doesn’t stop there. Obama is not only manifestly pro-Islam; he is demonstrably anti-American. His policies across the board are all of a piece. Domestically, his economic projects have been calamitous. Obama has pied-pipered the nation to the brink of fiscal ruin … His racial interventions have set race relations back a generation or more — most recently his urging the Ferguson rioters to “stay on course“. His attack on the Constitution is systematically undermining the republican nature of the US. Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey cites the president for violating the Constitution 24 times with regard to Obamacare alone. …
Obama’s refusal to secure the permeable southwestern border is an open invitation to a veritable invasion of illegals and jihadists. His executive order to issue a temporary reprieve on the grounds of prosecutorial discretion, to delay deportation, and to provide work permits for millions of illegals is certain to create dismay, resentment and confrontation on a national scale … His mishandling of the Ebola crisis is only another example of anti-colonial politicking, placing American citizens at risk by allowing flights from infected West African countries into the U.S. The list goes on.
In terms of foreign policy, all of Obama’s actions seem dedicated to weakening American strength and resolve in a hostile world. His innumerable blunders — if that is what they are — whether the result of incompetence or, more likely, intention, …
Intention – we see no reason seriously to doubt it.
… have been scrupulously and abundantly documented in scores of books and hundreds of articles. (As an audience member at a recent Freedom Center symposium joked, Obama is “the most competent president we’ve ever had” — most competent, that is, as a malevolent and destructive force whose blunders are not accidents.) It might almost seem as if Obama’s “crimes and misdemeanors” are acquiring encyclopedic dimensions. Here we need only mention his clear bias against international allies, in particular Israel, his funding of the terrorist organization Hamas, his inability or unwillingness to deal effectively with ISIS, which he notoriously regarded as a jayvee outfit, and, most worrisomely, his pampering of the Iranian mullocracy in its determined march toward nuclear status.
His campaign against the American military is perhaps the most telling if under-the-radar sign of his animus toward his own country. His aim to reduce the military to pre-WWII levels and his sacking of ranking military personnel are especially troubling instances of a malign agenda. As retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, an original member of Delta Force and currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, has argued, “our military is being devastated at the same time that all of our enemies, all of our potential adversaries are ramping up.” It is time, he insists on Twitter, that “top military MUST stand up to President + reckless policies.” It is hard to understand how a powerful military establishment could allow itself to be serially gutted, unless it is helmed by hand-picked Obama supporters.
For there is no evident, top-brass pushback against a president who has signaled to the enemy a timetable for withdrawal; who has shackled his forces in Afghanistan with so-called “rules of engagement,” putting their lives in jeopardy; whose concept of military propriety is a latte salute and whose concept of diplomatic propriety is chewing gum in the face of a prestigious welcoming delegation of a formidable power. This is a president under whose watch veterans were neglected and abused; who has exchanged an alleged deserter for five mid-to-high tier Taliban terrorists; and who has blithely abandoned servicemen under fire or held in captivity. The American armed forces find themselves in a position analogous to the Turkish military, once the guarantor of the country’s Kemalist experiment, now decimated under the authoritarian stewardship of Obama’s good friend, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose example Obama appears to be emulating.
As a result of Erdogan’s actions, a secular Muslim state has been transformed into an Islamic theopolitical nightmare. What the future augurs for America under Obama’s cataclysmic leadership is equally distressing.
Equally? While we agree with Solway’s argument, and value the useful list of proofs that he has gathered, at this point we murmur a respectful correction: What happens to America is immeasurably more important than what happens to Turkey.
And is he too pessimistic in this next passage? Is America “no longer the world’s only superpower” – or even not a superpower at all any more?
In the conclusion of his seminal book, Geert Wilders warned that the Islamic incursion into the body politic and social matrix of the U.S. is well underway; in the course of time, the nation will have lost itself in the Wilderness. But the gradual emirization of the U.S. is merely one among a host of premonitory indices. The nation’s spirit appears increasingly stagnant. It is drowning in a Noah’s flood of debt, it is coming apart at the racial seams, it is riven by a red/blue ideological conflict that appears unbridgeable, it is no longer the world’s only superpower — indeed, it is moot whether it is still a superpower, and it is considered either a hindrance or an irrelevance on the global proscenium. It is debatable whether the rot has gone too deep to be scoured, or if the recent change in party representation in Congress or a future Republican presidency would amount to anything more than a temporary hiatus. … The rot is not only political but has eaten deep into the culture as well, with growing levels of violence, welfare dependence, historical ignorance and general cynicism. In any event, once a nation has forfeited its pre-eminence, history shows it unlikely to reclaim its former position of authority and grandeur.
Finally he gives more reasons to be pessimistic, and they are all cogent:
Many have pointed out, as has Dinesh D’Souza to persuasive effect in America: Imagine a World without Her, that Obama’s main endeavor is to promote national enfeeblement, an enterprise which the American left, via its political, media, intellectual and academic elites, has been advancing for the last fifty years. When the fundraiser-in-chief is pastured out to the golf course or the United Nations and should the Democrats be returned to power, someone else will replace him to carry on his work. Certainly, should Alinsky-friendly Hillary Clinton or populist fraud and gentrified socialist Elizabeth Warren succeed to the presidency, one could write an early finis to the great American adventure in republican governance.
The question remains partially open. Can the country slip out from under the withering curse laid upon it by a runaway president, his subversive administration and the radically corrupt Democratic Party? Can the Augean Stables of a decaying political, intellectual and media culture be cleansed and fumigated? Can the Republicans connect with their staunchly conservative base to eventually form a credible, unified and revitalized governing party?
In the meantime, with the help of his compliant accomplices, Obama has, both as effect and cause, probably done more damage to American interests, security and patriotic fervor than any single president before him. Indeed, he has done more than any of his predecessors to ensure that America as we once knew her is marked for death.
Beyond hope? Not quite:
One can only hope against hope that the American spirit is still at least subliminally resilient.
President Obama believes that America is arrogant.* If his foreign policy can be explained by anything, it would be his intention to bring America down a peg or ten. Looked at like that, the disasters we see happening in many parts of the world are testimony not to Obama’s failure, but to his success.
Not that President Obama can have any objection to arrogance as such. He is an arrogant man. He just doesn’t want America to be proud of its superiority. He hates the very idea that it is superior. But while he would not even acknowledge its political-moral superiority as a republic constituted for liberty, he cannot deny that it is economically and militarily stronger than any other country. So he’s been working to change that for the last six years.
The whole world is the worse for his efforts.
This is from Front Page, by Bruce Thornton:
The 6 years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy have seen American influence and power decline across the globe. Traditional rivals like China and Russia are emboldened and on the march in the South China Sea and Ukraine. Iran, branded as the world’s deadliest state sponsor of terrorism, is arrogantly negotiating its way to a nuclear bomb. Bloody autocrats and jihadist gangs in the Middle East scorn our president’s threats and behead our citizens. Countries in which Americans have shed their blood in service to our interests and ideals are in the process of being abandoned to our enemies. And allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are bullied or ignored. All over the world, a vacuum of power has been created by a foreign policy sacrificed to domestic partisan advantage, and characterized by criminal incompetence.
Incompetence is what it looks like. But if failure is the aim, then either the incompetence is only an appearance, or it is a means to the end.
How we have arrived at this point, the dangers to our security and interests if we don’t change course, and what must be done to recover our international prestige and effectiveness are the themes of Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat. The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. …
A clear sign of American retreat is the precipitous decline in military spending. “In the name of budgetary savings,” Stephens writes, “the Army is returning to its June 1940 size,” and “the Navy put fewer ships at sea at any time since 1916.” The Air Force is scheduled to retire 25,000 airmen and mothball 550 planes. Our nuclear forces are being cut to meet the terms of the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, even as its nuclear arsenal has been increasing. Meanwhile Obama … issues empty threats, blustering diktats, and sheer lies that convince world leaders he is a “self-infatuated weakling”.
Unfortunately, 52% of the American people agree that the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally”, and 65% want to “reduce overseas military commitments”, including a majority of Republicans. This broad consensus that America should retreat from global affairs reflects our age’s bipartisan isolationism, the centerpiece of Stephens’ analysis. This national mood is not a sign of decline, according to Stephens, who documents the enormous advantages America still enjoys globally, from its superiority in research and entrepreneurial vigor, to its healthy demographics and spirit of innovation. But it does bespeak a dangerous withdrawal from the policies that created the postwar Pax Americana – even though this global order policed by the U.S. defeated the murderous, nuclear-armed ideology of Soviet communism, and made possible the astonishing economic expansion that has lifted millions from poverty all over the world. …
For Stephens, isolationism has not been the only danger to American foreign policy success. What he calls “the overdose of ideals”, specifically the “freedom agenda” of the sort George W. Bush tried in Iraq and Afghanistan, has misdirected our efforts and squandered our resources in the pursuit of impossible goals. The success of the Cold War and the subsequent spread of democracy and free-market economies suggested that the world could be not just protected from an evil ideology, but “redeemed” by actively fostering liberal democracy even in countries and regions lacking the necessary network of social mores and political virtues upon which genuine liberal democracy rests. But in attempting to redeem the world, Stephens notes, policy makers “neglected a more prosaic responsibility: to police it”.
The failures to create stability, let alone true democracy, in Iraq and Afghanistan have enabled what Stephens calls the “retreat doctrine”, one to be found in both political parties. Barack Obama is the master of this species of foreign policy, incoherently combining idealistic democracy-promoting rhetoric with actions that further withdraw the U.S. from its responsibility to ensure global order. Under the guise of “nation-building at home,” and in service to traditional leftist doubt about America’s goodness, Obama has retreated in the face of aggression, and encouraged cuts in military spending in order to fund an ever-expanding entitlement state.
But also, equally, in order to make America weaker.
Meanwhile, “Republicans are busy writing their own retreat doctrine in the name of small government, civil liberties, fiscal restraint, ‘realism’, a creeping sense of Obama-induced national decline, and a deep pessimism about America’s ability to make itself, much less the rest of the world, better.”
The “retreat doctrine” is dangerous because global disorder is a constant contingency. The remainder of Stephens’ book approaches this topic first from the perspective of theory and history, and then from today’s practice. History teaches us that all the substitutes for a liberal dominant global power have failed to prevent the descent into conflict and mass violence. The ideas of a balance of power, collective security, or the presumed peaceful dividend and “harmony of interests” created by global trade did not prevent World War I or its even more devastating sequel. Nor are they any more useful in our own times.
As for today, Stephens identifies several challenges to a global order fragilely held together by the commitment to liberal democracy, open economies, and the free circulation of ideas and trade. The “revisionists” attack this model from various perspectives. Iran sees it as a fomenter of godlessness and hedonism, Russia is moved to oppose it by “revanchism and resentment”, and China believes that it “is a recipe for bankruptcy and laziness”, lacking a “sense of purpose, organization, and direction”. All three see evidence for their various critiques in the failure of the U.S. to exercise its massive power in the face of challenges, and in the willingness of American elites to revel in guilt and self-doubt. These perceptions of national decline invite rivals and enemies to behave as if the U.S. is in fact declining.
The other international players that could worsen disorder are “freelancers” and “free radicals”. The former include those countries like Israel or Japan who, convinced that America will not act in its own or its allies’ interests, will understandably take action that necessarily entails unforeseen disastrous consequences. Much more dangerous are the “free radicals”, the jihadist gangs rampaging across 3 continents, and the nuclear proliferators like Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, whose collaboration with each other and rogue regimes like Venezuela endangers the world through provoking even further proliferation on the part of rivals, or by handing off nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. And then there are “free radicals” like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who have undermined global order by publicizing the necessarily covert tools, practices, and institutions that undergird and protect it.
Finally, there are the structural weaknesses of the globalized economy and its continuing decline in growth, which may create “breaks” in national economic systems that “will be profoundly disruptive, potentially violent, and inherently unpredictable”. Add America’s retreat from world affairs and reductions in military spending, and in the “nearer term”, Stephens warns, “terrorists, insurgents, pirates, hackers, ‘whistleblowers’, arms smugglers, and second-rate powers armed with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles will be able to hold the United States inexpensively at risk”, provoking further American retreat from world affairs and the inevitable increased aggression by our enemies and rivals. …
So what can be done? In his conclusion Stephens applies to foreign affairs the “broken windows” tactics of urban policing that caused rates of violent crimes to plummet over the last few decades. Thus “the immediate goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to arrest the continued slide into a broken-windows world of international disorder”.
This foreign policy would require increasing U.S. military spending to 5% of GDP, with a focus on increasing numbers of troops, planes, and ships rather than on overly sophisticated and expensive new weapons. It would mean stationing U.S. forces near global hotspots to serve as a deterrent and rapid-reaction force to snuff out incipient crises. It would require reciprocity from allies in military spending, who for too long have taken for granted the American defense umbrella. It would focus attention on regions and threats that really matter, particularly the borderlands of free states, in order to protect global good citizens from predators. It means acting quickly and decisively when conflict does arise, rather than wasting time in useless debates and diplomatic gabfests. Finally, it would require that Americans accept that their unprecedented global economic, cultural, and military power confers on us both vulnerability to those who envy and hate us, and responsibility for the global order on which our own security and interests depend. …
No matter how understandable our traditional aversion to military and political entanglements abroad, history has made us the global policeman, one committed to human rights, accountability, and political freedom. If we abdicate that position, there is no country powerful, or worthy enough, to take our place.
We agree with that.
And Thornton tantalizes us with this:
Stephens ends with an imagined “scenario” of how a serious global disruption could occur, one grounded in current trends and thus frighteningly believable.
When we’ve found out what that scenario is, which is to say when we’ve read the book, we’ll return to this important subject.
* “In his first nine months in office, President Obama has issued apologies and criticisms of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo; at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York City. He has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally, and for acting without regard for others; for treating other countries as mere proxies, for unjustly interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and for feeding anti-Muslim sentiments; for committing torture, for dragging our feet on global warming and for selectively promoting democracy.” – Mitt Romney, quoted by PolitiFact.com
So Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been chucked.
It will be called a resignation, but that’s the usual lie to save the pride of anyone chucked out of office.
What would he have done to offend the Obama gang? Why would he be chucked in the midst of a small war against the Islamic State?
Although a self-styled Republican, Chuck Hagel seemed tailor-made to serve in Obama’s cowering cabinet.
We repeat from a part of our post, Four men, four years – to disable America? (January 11, 2013), this quotation about Chuck Hagel from Front Page, by Joseph Klein:
Hagel … has espoused a deep kinship with the radical anti-war Left, advocated reckless foreign policy positions such as direct talks with terrorists and their leading sponsor, Iran, and demonstrated a nasty hostility to Israel … To have this kind of individual serving as the head of the U.S. Defense Department is to severely jeopardize the security interests of the U.S., our ally Israel and the rest of the free world. …
In August 2006, Hagel joined only eleven other senators in refusing to write the European Union asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. …
We are facing the prospect of a Secretary of Defense who goes out of his way to antagonize our only true ally in the Middle East and who cannot bring himself to treat Hamas and Hezbollah as the terrorist enemies of all freedom-loving countries that they surely are. …
Hagel … is caught in the time warp of the Vietnam syndrome, the national defense paralysis that stemmed from what Ronald Reagan once described as “feelings of guilt as if we were doing something shameful”. …
How would Chuck Hagel’s case of the Vietnam syndrome play out in his dealing as Secretary of Defense with the Iranian nuclear threat? In one word, appeasement. Like Obama, Hagel has called for “unconditional” talks with Iran. … He has opposed economic sanctions … He was one of two senators to oppose the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act in 2001. In 2008, Hagel was reported to have been “solely responsible” for blocking a bill that would have tightened economic sanctions in Iran …
Hagel appears willing to accept a nuclear-armed Iran as a fact of life that we will just have to learn to live with. … Hagel also thinks that the United States should offer to back off any declaratory support for regime change in Iran. While in the Senate, [he] even voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. …
Before President Obama officially announced his nomination of Chuck Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense and John Brennan for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Obama said that protecting the security of the American people was his number one priority. …
Our comment was:
Protecting the American people from what? From their own Constitution? From liberty?
There is nothing to regret about this man’s departure from office. There would be nothing to regret about the departure from office of anyone in the Obama administration. The going of the entire gang would be cause for the wildest national celebration.
… is not the same for the Coalition gander.
General Dempsey reported on Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid harming civilians.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.
The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.
The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.
But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he thought the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.
“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.
Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.
“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.
In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.
Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.
“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.
(It should also be remembered that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, used civilians – children in particular – as human shields, often forcing them to remain in the very buildings they had been warned were to be bombed.)
Whatever lessons the team from the Pentagon learnt from the IDF’s expertise at taking measures to prevent civilian casualties, were apparently not applied by the US when the Air Force bombed IS/ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.
US bombing kills children in Iraq.
Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered his first major shakeup of his military since taking office three months ago, relieving 26 army officers of their commands and retiring 10 others as a monitoring group said airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians, since they began in September. …
On Wednesday, three bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 17 people and wounded nearly 40, police and hospital officials said. …
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that at least 50 civilians, including eight children and five women, also have been killed in the airstrikes, the group said.
The mainstream media do not feature these deaths. The TV news screens of the West are not filled with images of these dead children. They are of less concern than the dead children of Gaza. Because the hearts of the hardboiled media bleed only when the Israelis are doing the bombing.
What did the Obama administration have to say about all this?
When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the flood of rockets being launched at its cities, and particularly when it mounted a short ground operation to locate and destroy infiltration tunnels under the border, there was the predictable response from the UN, the NGOs and Israel’s usual critics that it was causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties in Gaza. Surprisingly (or not), the Obama Administration and State Department joined the chorus.
You probably recall John Kerry’s sarcastic remark that Israel had carried out a “hell of a pinpoint operation”. And you may remember that back in July, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “there’s more that could be done [by Israel]” to reduce civilian casualties. There are also reports of a particularly “combative” phone call from President Obama to PM Netanyahu during the war.
So [on November 8], the intrepid Matt Lee of the AP asked Psaki whether the Chairman of the JCS knew what he was talking about:
QUESTION: Yesterday, the ICC made its decision that there was no case to prosecute for war crimes in Gaza. But also yesterday – and you spoke about that very briefly here. But also yesterday, General Dempsey, who is no slouch when it comes to military things, told an audience in New York that the Israelis went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage during the Gaza war.
And I’m puzzled, because I thought it was the position of the Administration – or maybe it was just the position of the State Department and the White House – that Israel was not doing enough to live up to its – what you called its own high standards. Back on August 3rd, there was the statement you put out after the UNRWA school incident, saying that the U.S. “is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling’. And that was some pretty fierce criticism.
How do you reconcile these two apparent divergent points of view? When this statement came out, the United States was appalled? Did that just mean the State Department was appalled?
- PSAKI: No, that is the position of the Administration; it remains the position of the Administration. As we made clear throughout the summer’s conflict, we supported Israel’s right to self-defense and strongly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, and the use of tunnels, of course, of attacks into Israel. However, we also expressed deep concern and heartbreak for the civilian death toll in Gaza and made clear, as you noted in the statement you pointed to, that we believed that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties, and it was important that they held their selves to a high standard. So that remains our view and position about this summer’s events.
QUESTION: Okay. But I’m still confused as to how you can reconcile the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who knows a bit about how military operations work, I would venture to guess; I don’t know him, but I assume that he wouldn’t be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if he was – if he didn’t —
- PSAKI: Correct.
QUESTION: — says that the Israelis essentially did the best that they could and lived up to – by extension lived up to their high standards by taking – by going to, quote, “extraordinary lengths” to limit the collateral damage.
- PSAKI: Well, I would point you to the chairman’s team for his – more specifics on his comments. But it remains the broad view of the entire Administration that they could have done more and they should have taken more – all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.
But the Coalition is not required to do the same? Apparently not.
So is there an element of special treatment for Israelis? Do anti-Semitic Europe and anti-Israel pro-Islam Obama set the moral bar higher for Israelis than for any others – or for themselves?
To borrow a saying: We report, you decide.
How passionately, profoundly, unalterably President Barack Obama loves Islam is demonstrated by the story of Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a phsychatrist in the US army, was sentenced to death in August 2013 for killing 13 people and wounding 32 at the military base of Fort Hood in 2009.
He said that he did it for the Taliban, the enemy that the US army was fighting a war against in Afghanistan.
He is a traitor and a mass-murdering Islamic terrorist.
A military court tried him for murder and attempted murder and condemned him to death. He is imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He will live there for years, in comfortable and privileged conditions, while his case is slowly reviewed by appellate courts.
Due process is being scrupulously observed. Justice is being done.
Or is it?
We quote from an article by Michael Daly at the Daily Beast, dated August 6, 2013:
Nidal Hasan’s victims must suffer twice — first when they were shot by the army shrink turned jihadi, and again as the government calls the murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood “workplace violence”.
As U.S. Army psychiatrist turned jihadi Nidal Hasan finally goes on trial for shooting 13 fellow soldiers to death at Fort Hood … the government continues to classify the 2009 attack: “Workplace violence”.
In what might be termed the audacity of nope, the government has declined to call this al Qaeda–inspired mass murder an act of terrorism because to do so would be “unfair to the victims”.
Orwell’s Ministry of Truth could not do better.
The official reasoning is that it would jeopardize the case because, as stated in a Pentagon memo, “defense counsel will argue that Major Hasan cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist — that he is criminally culpable.”
That has not stopped the government from calling the 9/11 attacks anything but terrorism. The 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon has on display the Purple Heart, the medal awarded to all the soldiers who were killed or injured there that day.
But the Purple Heart has been denied the soldiers who were killed or wounded at Fort Hood. And, because they were classified as victims of simple calamity rather than of combat, they and their families have been denied the accompanying benefits. A number of them say they have not even been able to secure adequate care for their wounds.
And, perhaps in part because people assumed that the army would take care of the soldiers as it would any other fallen and wounded warriors, there was no huge outpouring of financial support for them as there would later be for, say, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
To her great and everlasting credit, nobody has been more vocal about all this than one of the two heroic police officers who took Hasan down and ended the carnage.
“Betrayed is a good word,” Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley has said of the way the soldiers have been treated.
Munley speaks up on behalf of the soldiers even though as a civilian she would be ineligible for the medal or the benefits, even though she was wounded in the attack.
And Munley has more than enough cause to complain about how she and her equally heroic comrade, Police Sgt. Mark Todd, have been treated themselves. …
Maybe you saw them on television seated beside the first lady at the State of the Union address, Munley still in pain from the bullet wound in her leg.
But surely they received something more than that gestural “honor”? Medals? Compensation? Promotion? An award ceremony? Official thanks on behalf of the nation?
You may not know that both of them were subsequently laid off due to budget cuts.
You also may not know that Todd suffered a stroke this past Christmas, two days after returning from Afghanistan, having gone to work there for a civilian contractor when his heroism at Fort Hood failed to save him from being “excessed.”
The stroke apparently left him unable to speak, but he has nonetheless been placed on the list of potential witnesses as the trial gets under way at Ford Hood. …
Munley almost certainly will testify at the trial. Her lawyer, Reid Rubinstein, reports that she is as ready as ever to do whatever duty requires.
She is presently honoring a request by the prosecutors to refrain from public comment during the trial. But you can be sure she will have plenty to say afterward. And likely little of it will be about her own troubles.
In the meanwhile, Rubenstein has joined with another attorney, Neal Sher, in filing a lawsuit against the government on behalf of Munley, a number of the shot soldiers, and their families. The suit notes that the army and the FBI ignored repeated warnings that an increasingly militant Hasan was bent on jihadist violence.
The suit charges that, among other things, the authorities “knew or should have known that Hasan was abusing his patients, who were American soldiers returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, by calling them ‘war criminals’ in the course of psychiatric treatment sessions, and promising criminal prosecution against them because these soldiers had killed Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
How nuts is that?
Imagine coming home shaken up by the war and seeking psychiatric help and having this guy call you a war criminal?
Imagine later hearing that this same sick shrink was allowed just to spout lines from the Quran in place of the formal oral presentation required of all new doctors.
And that Hasan’s communications with al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki were initially excused as research into radical Islam.
And that Hasan spoke of being “happy” when a fellow jihadist shot an American soldier to death outside an Arkansas recruiting station in June of 2009 — a soldier who would also be denied a Purple Heart.
And that five months later Hasan allegedly went with a gun into an area where soldiers were either returning from a deployment or preparing to deploy [and shot them].
Among those who were shot was Lt. Col. Juanita Warman, a physician who … died while using her body to shield a fellow soldier, an act that should have earned her a medal for valor as well as a Purple Heart.
Also shot was Pvt. Francheska Velez, just back from Iraq, completing paperwork for education benefits and pregnant with her first child.
“She lived for a short time in terrible pain and agony, knowing that she and her child were dying,” the lawsuit says.
The suit also says that just before the gunfire, Hasan was heard to shout, “Allahu akbar!” …
What happened with that lawsuit Rubenstein and Sher brought against the government on behalf of the victims?
Sean Hannity, a sharp thorn in the side of the Left (and long may he continue to be so), brings to public attention a statement the two lawyers have issued five years after the terrorist crime was committed.
Neal M. Sher and Reed D. Rubinstein, attorneys for over 120 Fort Hood terror attack victims and family members, issued the following statement [November 5], on the fifth anniversary of that attack:
Five years ago today, the terrorist Nidal Hasan yelled “Allahu akbar” and, wearing the uniform of an U.S. Army major, began slaughtering Americans. Fourteen innocent people lost their lives and over fifty were injured. For five years, Hasan has bragged of committing this atrocity in the name of Islam to protect the Taliban.
Hasan’s victims saw their lives forever changed that terrible day. But the real tragedy of Fort Hood was that our government could have easily prevented their suffering. The U.S. Army and FBI had long known that Hasan was a jihadist with al-Qaeda connections and, simply by following their own standard policies and procedures, easily could have stopped him before anyone was hurt. Instead, because of what the Senate Homeland Committee’s investigation called “political correctness”, the government willfully averted its eyes to Hasan’s jihadism. Hasan should have been arrested. Instead, he was promoted and given other special privileges.
Incredibly, the government’s policies of political correctness and special privileges for Hasan continued even after his killing spree.
The day after the carnage, on November 6, 2009, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that U.S. authorities “were taking measures to quell anti-Islam sentiments” in the U.S. and that Hasan “does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith”.
On November 8, 2009, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said on the Sunday talk shows that the “real tragedy” of Fort Hood would be damage to “diversity” policies and publicly warned against “guessing at Hasan’s motive,” though the government knew of Hasan’s jihadist motive from the start.
The special privileges for Hasan also continued. Pfc. Bradley Manning, who gave Wikileaks documents, was kept naked in an isolation cell and charged with aiding the enemy. But Hasan, who killed for the Taliban, was not similarly charged or confined. Instead, he was given uniquely comfortable accommodations and special food; permitted to wear a beard, a privilege denied loyal American soldiers; and allowed to give Al-Jazeera an interview praising anti-American “mujahadeen”.
Though the government went out of its way to coddle Hasan, it had no kindness for his victims. First, they were used as props in staged “mourning” ceremonies to benefit political leaders, then they were personally promised assistance by President Obama and top generals, and finally they were shoved down a memory hole. Hasan’s terrorism became “workplace violence”, meaning that those who survived the charnel house were denied support, benefits and mental health treatment. In some cases, soldiers were physically and mentally abused for requesting treatment of Fort Hood-related injuries.
Five years on, the government has done nothing to help the victims of Fort Hood. …
Now, from our new Congress, we call and hope for action. First, we ask for equity. Congress should provide similar benefits to the Fort Hood victims as it provided to the 9/11 Pentagon victims. The government should not be allowed to dodge its culpability.
Second, we ask Congress hold oversight hearings to investigate and hold accountable the Department of Defense and the White House for their post-attack policies, conduct and abuse.
Will some justice in this case at last be done?
Here is Geert Wilders delivering a great speech recently at the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, to mark the 10th anniversary of the murder by a Muslim terrorist of Theo van Gogh, November 2, 2004.
Please listen to it. It is nothing less than a rousing call to Europe to rise up against its colonization by Islam. (We posted it yesterday as part of a piece on fighting for liberty in the US. But on second thoughts we think it deserves a place to itself.)
Play it loudly. It’s that sort of speech. You won’t hear such things said loud and clear in many places anywhere in the world these days.
He dares to declare a burning truth – that the enemy of liberty, the enemy of the West, the enemy of civilization, is Islam. Not “Islamism”, not “Islamic extremism”, not “radicalized Islam”, but ISLAM.
The discussion following the speech is also inspiring to listen to. Though at moments a little hard to hear, the answers Wilders gives to the questions are very much to the point.
While the US Air Force continues to bomb what it thinks are IS/ISIS/ISIL positions in what was, but may not still be, Syria and Iraq, convoys of trucks bearing life-saving aid in huge supplies donated by the US taxpayer (among others) also continue, trailing unstoppably into enemy territory.
No other air forces seems to be at work there, though to prop up the lie that a huge coalition – including Sunni Arab states – had joined the US in its aerial action against the Islamic State, the world was treated to a glamor pic of a pretty female Qatari pilot leading a squadron of three bombers on the first day of the venture. Did she drop any bombs? And where has she gone? Will she be back? Without her, Obama and Kerry must seem to be combatting IS/ISIS/ISIL all by themselves (by proxy of course) from the clouds.
They also drop crates of arms and ammunition to whomever finds them down below. Some to the Kurds who are fighting ISIS on the ground – if the Kurds are lucky enough to find them. And one load – at least – whether by accident or intention, to ISIS.
And while the bombing displays admirable militancy on the part of the White House, and the gift of arms to ISIS may have been an accident, the US and Britain and the (abominable) United Nations and possibly the EU are deliberately delivering massive quantities of aid to the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).
ISIS crucifies boys; saws off Americans’ and Britons’ heads; stoned a timid young girl to death just recently – her own father among her killers. And still the trucks of aid go trundling in, bringing food and medical supplies to ISIS. Well, ostensibly it’s for “civilians” and “displaced persons”, but ISIS rules the route.
This is our Facebook page summary of an article by Jamie Dettmer in the Daily Beast:
In addition to accidentally airdropping loads of weapons to ISIS, and while U.S. warplanes strike at them, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid is flowing into their territory, assisting IS/ISIS/ISIL to build their caliphate. The food and medical equipment, meant for civilians, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. But the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS.
The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs. Aid coordinators say that USAID and other Western government agencies and NGOs actually employ ISIS people on their staffs. “They force people on us. And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them. They contact their leaders and a price is worked out.”
The aid itself isn’t carefully monitored. ISIS keeps some of it to feed and treat its fighters. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons.
Last year when there was a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor, the World Health Organization worked with ISIS to carry out an immunization campaign. In these ways the West, and in particular the US, is providing support for the Islamic State.
Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic [to the Islamic State],” says one of them. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here, treating their fighters so they can fight again?”
What makes the picture even more bizarre is that while a lot of aid is going into ISIS-controlled areas, very little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria where the Kurds are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that they were not included in the U.N. polio-vaccination campaign.
According to the same source: Jonathan Schanzer, Mideast expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, thinks that any aid that reaches the people will help to keep them contented with ISIS rule. He’s quoted as saying:
I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance. By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.
We see his point, but doubt that there is going to be an uprising against ISIS within the Islamic State any time soon, no matter what the circumstances.
A State Department official is reported to fear that if the aid convoys were to be stopped, there would be an humanitarian crisis for which the West would be blamed. We don’t think fear of blame should be of any concern. Why are all these sentimental Western policy makers and executives so afraid of being blamed? It is blame by Muslims that they particularly fear. What is withholding aid from an enemy state compared to what the Muslims of ISIS are doing? It’s an absurd consideration, but it distorts policies, both domestic and foreign, over and over again.
Bill Whittle talks about the threat of Ebola: