Those Americans (of various political persuasions) who say it is not necessary for the US to have a strong military for any reason except defense of the homeland and then only if it is actually attacked; who say that the US should not be the “policeman of the world”; who say (as Donald Trump does) “let the Russians fight ISIS”; who say “let the Muslims kill each other, it’s of no concern to us”; who say the only business we should have with other countries is trade; who say they share President Obama’s opinion that America is not better than any other nation and that no country should dominate any other – watch what will happen now as their ideal becomes reality and Obama’s doctrine is put into practice:
J. E. Dyer, who has had many years’ professional experience of defense issues and has thought long and hard about these matters, writes at Liberty Unyielding:
U.S. and Russian officials are still discussing how to share the combat space in Syria. But all things military are ultimately decided by political leverage. I assure you, it is impossible for U.S. forces to maintain a posture of “making things crystal clear to the Russians”, if there is no political respect for the Obama administration itself on the Russian side.
The lack of respect will be for a reason – and it will be for the same reason that American forces won’t be able to hold any line in Syria. They won’t have reliable back-up from the White House. Time will quickly erode the U.S. military position on how to share the battle space, and Russia will simply dictate the conditions in which our forces operate.
I doubt we can really conceive how fast things are going to move from this point on. Reports continue to flood in that Iran is deploying troops in large numbers to Syria, and that Russia and Iran will mount a major ground offensive there soon. For the military task at hand, their weapons and skills are not as good as ours, but they will fight ruthlessly and without compunction, which we have not done at any time in the last 25 years. Where we have fought delicately, to “encourage” a new status quo that could last without us, Russia and Iran will fight brutally to hold territory they mean to stay on, in one form or another.
I don’t think even geopolitics specialists really appreciate how dangerous a precipice we stand on.
There is no assumption of our current order that is not up for grabs now. We haven’t seen a situation like this for many hundreds of years.
Things you think can’t possibly come up for rearrangement – how the Suez Canal operates; who if anyone keeps it safe to navigate the waters of the Mediterranean; how freely air traffic moves between Europe and Asia; whether the Strait of Malacca is open to everyone; whether military outposts targeting the United States proliferate in the Americas – all these things are in the realm of the “thinkable” now.
The protection of the United States has been lifted from the world.
On what else will the nations cease giving ear to anything the Obama administration says? We’re going to find out.
Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
For the last act of its long Christian history, Europe, true to the Christian ideal of martyrdom, passionately cries out to barbarian hordes to come from all the Islamic hellholes of the globe, descend violently upon it – and rape it to death.
Following thematically on the two Pat Condell videos posted immediately below, here’s his latest, published yesterday.
Friday September 25 2015, was a momentous day of very good news and very bad news.
Cause for cheering:
The lachrymose John Boehner announced his forthcoming resignation as Speaker of the House, making way (one hopes) for a stronger Republican leader. No cause for the nation to weep, though no doubt he himself shed a few tears over his failure.
Cause for jeering:
1. Thousands more of Hillary Clinton’s emails surfaced, proving her to have perjured herself. Some hundreds of them, it is reported, concern Libya and Benghazi. We look forward to many a new revelation of her lies, her incompetence, and her self-serving malice. Reports also surfaced of her being seriously unwell. How much longer can the Democratic Party go on pretending that she can be its nominee for the presidency? For as long perhaps as it takes them to find someone else. At present it’s stuck with the corrupt Hillary, the old commie Sanders, and the dimwitted Biden.
2. The Peronist Pope urged America to promote socialism so everyone can be equally poor.
Cause for fearing:
Bigger news is overwhelmingly awful. Overwhelmed by a tsunami of Muslim migrants, Europe’s destruction is fully underway, and needless to say it’s a great tragedy. Of course the Europeans have earned their doom, but it won’t be good for America when the whole European continent is an Islamic caliphate governed by sharia law. And Obama has deliberately made the United States vulnerable to jihad. Through his efforts, there is a terrible probability of nuclear war in this century.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. – Ayn Rand
The political philosophy of the New Left is weak, shallow, and in its expression by some of its gurus, patently absurd. But it has won the West. It has won the academies of the pan-European word, and through them generations grow up steeped in the creed.
What is the creed, and why has it won?
It has won because it echoes a Christian teaching, to which some 8,000 generations (reckoning 4 generations per century) of Europeans have been subjected.
It is the notion that to be a good person you must pity other people and make sacrifices for them. Only if you do that, are you worthy and virtuous.
It has been drummed into every Christian from his earliest years, so even if he rebels against his religion, his class, his culture, his race, his nation, he clings to that idea as to the moral kingpin of his universe. Take it away, and the center will not hold.
The New Left was a rebellion by affluent, middle-class adolescents (some of them well advanced in middle age) against their class, culture, race, and nation, starting about twenty years after the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).
The old Left, a secular version of Christianity, won the support of middle-class intellectuals by directing pity on to the working-class. The intellectuals would, at whatever cost to themselves, lead the oppressed and exploited workers in revolution. In Russia to start with, they did just that before the end of the First World War.
By the late 1960s, the old Left, in the person of dictators and their henchmen, was actively oppressing millions, including the populations of the Eastern European countries and a part of Germany.
So the old Left lost its appeal partly because the Leftist regimes could not easily be held up as models of paradise on earth. In addition, the working-class in the West had generally become prosperous enough to be content with its lot.
The New Left found new victims to feel sorry for. It found them first abroad, in the Third World, which was not prosperous. It declared the people of Third World countries to be exploited and oppressed by European colonialism and imperialism, even if their countries were no longer colonies or parts of empires. Its concern extended to Third World descendants who lived in the First World.
Then it declared that in the First World, women were victims of male-dominated societies. Many women volunteered for the role.
Next, homosexuals were declared, and many declared themselves, victims of heterosexual-dominated First World societies.
The main thing was, New Left intellectuals found new groups to pity, and so new sources for pride in a feeling of self-worth.
After 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War – of which the West was the immediate winner – the old Left was held by Western intellectuals (whom Thomas Sowell calls “the self-annointed”) to have been the wrong Left. The New Left, they maintain, is the politically correct Left.
The strange thing about the (new or old) Left’s remedy for human suffering is this: While only the individual can feel pain and suffer distress; while no masses, no group, no class, no race as such can suffer or feel anything at all; yet the Plan of the Left to remedy suffering is always one that sacrifices individuals for the sake of the group. It is always a Plan that is implemented regardless of individual suffering. So important is the Plan itself, that any number of individuals may be persecuted, silenced, tortured, enslaved, killed for it.
There is no collective remedy for human suffering. The only prescription that works is individual freedom; leaving people alone to serve their own purposes in the manner they choose for themselves. (Nothing need prevent an individual from aiding other individuals if that’s what he wants to do.)
John Schindler, who calls himself “a traditional leftist”, writes about why he believes the New Left has won in an article titled Who Really Won the Cold War?, in The Federalist. I quote it in full.
While he makes some points I do not agree with (chiefly the idea he takes for granted that Leftism ideally serves the cause of “human freedom”), he makes many more that bear out what I have said about the old Left and the New Left, and how and why the New Left has won the Cold War. I found this surprising. But it explains why an essay by a “traditional leftist” appears in The Federalist.
He starts with a figure from the old Left who has just recently risen to prominence:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves far beyond Britain. There has been disbelief that the United Kingdom’s storied left-wing party opted to be led by a man so obviously contemptuous of his own society. In the wake of their recent electoral debacle under the uninspiring Ed Miliband, Labour has chosen as its leader an activist who resembles a walking leftist cliché. Corbyn’s radicalism is not in doubt. Aside from his embrace of socialist-throwback platitudes that linger on his party’s left flank on the full range of domestic issues, in adamant rejection of Blairism, Corbyn’s foreign-policy views merit attention. Openly hostile to NATO and Britain’s longstanding “special relationship” with the United States, Corbyn adds overt sympathy for numerous authoritarian regimes.
He blames the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not the Kremlin, for the Ukraine crisis and has endorsed Russia Today, Putin’s TV propaganda network. Corbyn opposes essentially all overseas military operations by Britain and wants to parley with Bashar al-Assad, four years into Syria’s fratricide, while viewing Tehran as a partner for Middle East peace.
That said, leftist infatuation with foreign dictators is hardly new. For decades a crush on “progressive” despots safely far away from their own free country has been a staple of the Western far-Left diet. Corbyn is simply a paid-up member of his ideological tribe.
Yet Corbyn surpasses his predecessors in his fervent embrace of the social-justice message at home as well as abroad. He exudes hostility towards the Britain that made the historic Labour Party. This, after all, is a man who celebrates Hamas, Hezbollah, and related Islamist extremists as freedom-fighters, while explaining the death of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy”.
Unsurprisingly, Corbyn enthusiastically espouses multiculturalism and says Britain should “celebrate” record numbers of immigrants entering the country — a position not popular with many voters, who see the European Union being overwhelmed by waves of migrants from Asia and Africa. Between his crush on the West’s enemies and his desire to change his country’s population, Corbyn wants to abolish Britain, not reform it.
Yet we should not regard Corbyn as a particular outlier. In truth, his cocktail of trendy “progressive” opinions, which rejects virtually everything about their own society, is commonly found among postmodern Western leftists. The only difference is that Corbyn makes no effort to mask his views. Many of his fellow travelers obscure their take, which would be considered extreme by most voters, behind moderate-sounding language.
Unlike Barack Obama, who once assured us that he did not see a Red America or a Blue America, rather a United States of America — then proceeded to govern through two terms as a highly partisan liberal Democrat — Corbyn states openly that there is only one “real” Britain, and it is deep red (which in Britain, as most of Europe, means left-wing).
Corbynism is no sudden or shocking development, but the natural culmination of 50 years of left-wing views that have shifted from a desire to reform Western democracies to an unconcealed wish to kill them, or at least change them so fundamentally that they bear little resemblance to themselves.
The Old Left, for all its sometimes horrific flaws, sought socioeconomic change to benefit average citizens, not all-out social revolution. They, in their own way, were very much a product of Western culture. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which split the Left worldwide into communist and social democratic groupings, the latter worked within the socioeconomic system, embracing democracy while seeking minimal deep changes to society itself.
Even the communists were hardly social revolutionaries in practice. In the initial euphoria of the revolution there was experimentation. The Soviet Union became the first society ever to allow abortion and easy divorce. In Hungary, during the short-lived red revolution at the end of World War I, Bolsheviks embraced social radicalism and introduced sex education to undermine the traditional family.
However, once firmly in power, the Soviets dropped any pretense of social revolution to mirror the politico-economic one. While religion was persecuted and mild feminism got lip service, Stalin banned abortion and the party frowned upon sexual immorality. After all, the revolution needed soldiers and workers, and who but communist women could make those?
Although the abortion ban was dropped after Stalin, Soviet social practices remained highly “heteronormative,” with homosexuality being criminal while men and women were strongly encouraged to marry and be fruitful. In its most extreme form, Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly banned abortion and contraceptives altogether in his effort to build his highly fecund socialist Romania.
Many were the Western progressives who visited the East Bloc during the Cold War, having been fed propaganda about the wondrous “new society”, only to discover that communism was actually behind the West in matters of family, sex, and gender.
While the Soviets and their clients remained mired in traditional social models, the West moved on — or forward, depending on your viewpoint. The great social revolution of the 1960s, which passed the East Bloc by because communism had insulated the countries, brought forth a New Left in the West that was interested in matters of sex, gender, and race rather than who owns the means of production.
Their “long march through the institutions” after a half-century must be judged wholly successful. While the Right has won the battle for economics across the West — calls for public ownership now seem quaint rather than threatening to capitalists — the New Left has triumphed on the social front in every arena.
In the United States, which was more resistant to the New Left agenda than many Western countries, the Obama years have witnessed the victory of social justice on all major matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to activists, politicians, and courts, Americans today are living in a very different social and sexual world than their parents and grandparents.
More than a few communists saw all this coming. Beginning in the 1970s, East Bloc secret police began to notice the impact of the New Left on their Old Left countries. Cries for radical individualism from dissidents under Western influence troubled the communists, who didn’t know what to do about this trend, which they dismissed as a bourgeois affectation.
By the 1980s, the more perceptive East Bloc security services were denouncing this Western poison, which took the form of radical feminism, sexual freedom, environmental activism, and gay rights. To traditional communists, who barely understood this new ideology, it was a scary Western import, according to the secret police. Some in Eastern Europe termed this decadence “anarcho-liberalism”, and they considered it a disease of an affluent late capitalist society burdened with excessive consumerism and leisure time.
In the end, of course, the communists lost. Lots of average people in the East Bloc wanted the freedom to own cool shoes, while some pined for the social-sexual liberties that the West offered. In many ways, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 that changed the map and politics of Europe and beyond can be viewed with a quarter-century of hindsight as the defeat of the Old Left in the East by the New Left in the West.
We are living still with the consequences of this seismic political shift. With the sudden disappearance of the communist threat, the Right lost interest in socioeconomic fairness, a Cold War necessity to keep reds at bay on the home-front, while oddly so did the Left.
The obsessive interest of the New Left in social justice has come at the expense of economic concerns, with the result that on a wide range of topics their positions, barring lip service, differ hardly at all from the Right. Few on the Left question our basic economic arrangements; tearing down our social foundations has been their core program.
Barack Obama is the most left-wing president ever on social justice, yet he is a darling of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, despite her belated interest in social issues, is deeply enmeshed in high finance and will never challenge it. Thus Bernie Sanders, who is an amalgam of Old and New Left, is treated like an atavism by mainstream liberals when he opens the economics can of worms.
It’s all enough to make the few traditional leftists among us want to pull their hair out. The broad alliance of cultural Left and corporate Right, which questions none of our economics, has triumphed in our politics — or at least had until Donald Trump came along to question “settled” issues such as mass, often illegal, immigration. The cultural Left favors this because it gradually dissolves the traditional culture, which they despise, while the corporate Right favors it for the cheap labor. Postmodern capitalism is at least as revolutionary a force as anything cooked up by any Marxist, as well as something any Social Justice Warrior can live with.
For more than a generation we have sorely lacked mainstream contributions from social democrats who seek to make our society better, not destroy it. There ought to be no illusions about what the cultural Left seeks: a full revolution of our society and its history, which they see as benighted by irredeemable racism, sexism, and Old Think. Their opponents are objectively evil and on the“wrong side of history,” as Obama himself has assured us, and they must disappear. “Error has no rights,” the mid-nineteenth-century Vatican formulation, has oddly been adapted by our postmodern Left.
As communists once predicted the state itself would wither away, resulting in complete human freedom and progress, the New Left expects that all traditional societal arrangements will wither away, thereby allowing full human freedom and progress. One offered discipline and order and sometimes gulags; the other offers sexual liberty, anti-racism, and iPhones.
Both these beliefs are illusions, and dangerous ones, rooted in a Marxist sense of “knowing” where history is going. The working class was once revered by leftists as uniquely virtuous, while for the New Left that vanguard role is played by minorities sexual and racial, who are allegedly untainted by the dominant group. The essential willingness to ignore inconvenient truths remains the same.
Let us give the Old Left, particularly its social democratic guise, credit that they did not seek the extirpation of our whole society and culture, but instead its transformation. What the New Left today fights for is far more revolutionary and utopian. A Europe that seeks a future where actual Europeans are a dying remnant, replaced by more vigorous immigrants, is but one manifestation of this worldview.
Leftists once heartily sang the “Internationale,” which promised “This is the final struggle” (C’est la lutte finale). Communists were quite wrong about that. History has moved on and left them behind everywhere but Cuba, North Korea, and Western universities. Yet their social-justice descendants believe the same thing, with a different favored fantasy class.
They will be proved wrong, too. The Corbyn vision has no future to offer most Britons. It would be incomprehensible to generations of Labour patriots who fought for Britain, her values, and her allies. The only question is how much damage to what is left of the West will be inflicted before the New Left is vanquished, too.
I wish I could share his optimism that the New Left will be vanquished (in the foreseeable future).
And what I miss in the essay is any reference to the human misery that “traditional leftism” of the redder kind has caused wherever it has had power to cause it. Of course, his focus is on the British Left, which was never – until now? – as red as all that.
I dislike his implication that collectivism (aka Leftism) of his favored – or any – kind is a valid recipe for improving what Leftists have called “the human condition”.
But I applaud his recognition that the New Left “seeks the extirpation of our whole society and culture”, and that he deplores that terrible aim.
If only he could also see that it is logically, even necessarily, derived from the old socialist collectivist thinking to which he remains faithful!
Jillian Becker September 18, 2015
A video addressed to the Senate Democrats who support Obama’s deal with Iran:
Here’s a moderately good satirical video making a very important point about Obama’s “deal” with Iran:
If Khamenei calls Obama now, he’ll get two deals for the price of one.
(And the price to Iran is zero anyway.)
More than 50 intelligence analysts complain that the facts they find and analyse are being distorted to fit Obama’s lying narrative about the war with ISIS (or ISIL, as Obama’s lackeys prefer to call it so as to leave Syria out of the name).
This is from the Daily Beast:
More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials …
The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s Inspector General to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.
Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.
That complaint was supported by 50 other analysts, some of whom have complained about politicizing of intelligence reports for months. …
The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative.
The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.
The two signatories to the complaint were described as the ones formally lodging it, and the additional analysts are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples.
Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a “revolt” by intelligence professionals who are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. The analysts have accused senior-level leaders, including the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration’s public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.
The large number of analysts who complained to the Pentagon inspector general hasn’t been previously reported. Some of them are assigned to work at CENTCOM, the U.S. military’s command for the Middle East and Central Asia, but are officially employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The complaints allege that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed, resulting in a document that didn’t accurately capture the analysts’ conclusions, sources familiar with the protest said. But the complaint also goes beyond alleged altering of reports and accuses some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating an unprofessional work environment. One person who knows the contents of the written complaint sent to the inspector general said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM’s analysis.
Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria. Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.
Some reports crafted by the analysts that were too negative in their assessment of the war were sent back down the chain of the command or not shared up the chain, several analysts said. Still others, feeling the climate around them, self-censored so their reports affirmed already-held beliefs.
“While we cannot comment on the specific investigation cited in the article, we can speak to the process. The Intelligence Community routinely provides a wide range of subjective assessments related to the current security environment. These products and the analysis that they present are absolutely vital to our efforts, particularly given the incredibly complex nature of the multi-front fights that are ongoing now in Iraq and Syria,” said Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. CENTCOM spokesman. “Senior civilian and military leadership consider these assessments during planning and decision-making, along with information gained from various other sources, to include the insights provided by commanders on the ground and other key advisors, intelligence collection assets, and previous experience.”
Analysts began airing their complaints in October in an effort to address the issue internally and only went to the Inspector General when that effort failed.
The reaction of the administration? –
Some of those who complained were urged to retire …
And sadly –
Some agreed to leave.
Meanwhile, the administration continues to lie:
In recent months, members of the Obama administration have sought to paint the fight against ISIS in rosy hues — despite the terror army’s seizure of major cities like Mosul and Fallujah.
“ISIS is losing,” John Allen, the retired Marine general charged with coordinating the ISIS campaign, said in July.
“I am confident that over time, we will beat, we will, indeed, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in March, using the government’s preferred acronym for the group.
“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” President Obama said in May.
Obama habitually tries to create an alternative “reality” with words. It doesn’t work of course. Actual events continue to accrue their consequences.
How hugely important the “deal” with Iran is to President Obama is plain to see in this story of his passionate struggle to finesse the Senate’s “approval” of his empowerment of Iran.
A huge majority of Americans do not want the “deal”. But that is no matter to Obama. It is not what Americans want that concern him, it’s what he wants. He wants Iran to be a nuclear power. Why? What other answer can there be but that he deeply desires the elimination of Israel and the harm and disgrace of America?
It was late July …
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, was widely expected to announce his opposition to the Iran deal – and dozens of other House and Senate Democrats were threatening to revolt against the nuclear agreement and deliver President Barack Obama a devastating blow on the international stage. But weeks before it would become public, the White House won a critical assurance that would dramatically change the outlook in Congress: Sen. Harry Reid would support it.
No surprise there.
In a private call, the Senate Democratic leader secretly assured Secretary of State John Kerry that he would back the deal, though he would keep quiet about it publicly, Democratic sources said. He promised to help deliver critical information about which Democrats to target – but Reid himself needed to let about a dozen friends, supporters and donors who were sharply critical of the deal know why he was backing it before his position became public.
What ensued was perhaps the most aggressive and coordinated lobbying drive ever to take shape between congressional Democratic leaders and the Obama White House – which have frequently been at odds over strategy and tactics. It was a strategy that focused exclusively on House and Senate Democrats, ignoring Republicans altogether. And it underscored how sensitive the deal was to a number of Democrats, who feared a sharp backlash from pro-Israel voters and their Republican foes.
The Democrats succeeded largely because the lobbying effort to back the deal was far more targeted and relentless than the public push and advertising campaigns aimed at scuttling it, according to lawmakers in both parties. For a president often criticized for being detached from Congress, Obama aggressively used his bully pulpit to win over his party, contacting 125 Democratic House members and senators since July, many of them repeatedly, according to Democratic sources.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the GOP chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an opponent of the deal, said his Democratic friends reported to him that the White House was “breaking arms and legs” to prevent Congress from voting down the deal.
And it worked, culminating in a victory where Senate Democrats filibustered a resolution to reject the deal and House Democrats secured enough support to sustain a veto, handing Obama the most far-reaching international achievement of his presidency.
To quell a Democratic uprising, the White House, Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi traded key intelligence about uneasy Democrats, dispatching powerful Cabinet officials to lock down support. Over the August recess, Pelosi gave the White House 57 names of House Democrats who were wobbly on the Iran pact; Obama called all of them, including 30 calls to Democratic lawmakers in between rounds of golf during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, according to Democratic sources.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin called almost everyone in his 46-member caucus, interrupting a family vacation in Oregon to lobby skittish Democrats. On a jaunt to Florida last week where he talked about his presidential ambitions, Vice President Joe Biden made a side trip to help woo and eventually win over Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, an influential Jewish Democrat who was facing fierce protests, including from some activists who charged that she should “go to the oven,” a reference to the Holocaust.
American Jews who continue idiotically to vote Democratic have become outright enemies not only of Israel but of the survival of Western civilization.
Senior administration officials made 250 calls to House members and senators, sources said. That includes Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary and an Orthodox Jew, who was dispatched to help alleviate concerns of Jewish lawmakers, and Kerry, a former senator who relied on his longstanding Hill connections to push his party to back the deal.
Yet it was Ernest Moniz, the Department of Energy secretary and a nuclear physicist, who became the most prolific and effective surrogate, lawmakers said.
Moniz headed to the Detroit area to win over Michigan Sen. Gary Peters this summer. After pro-Israel forces were ratcheting up opposition in Montana, Moniz laid out his views to a local newspaper to help ensure Sen. Jon Tester didn’t defect. And he called into a North Dakota radio show to help give political cover to Heidi Heitkamp, the state’s centrist Democratic senator.
Moniz was so influential that the final Democrat who announced her support – Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell – waited to return to Washington to meet with him to let him reassure her about the capability of inspectors to continue to detect nuclear activity in the country. He told them all that the deal cut off Iran’s pathways to building a nuclear bomb.
Reid later privately mused about the possibility of nominating Moniz for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to an aide familiar with the matter.
Moniz was lying, of course. And couldn’t Maria Cantwell read the deal herself, and consider what the result of a nuclear-armed Iran will be; and note the numerous reports of the “secret” side-deal between Iran and the IAEA which allows the ever cheating, lying Iranian regime to “inspect” itself?
What helped Obama and supporters was the fact that the congressional review law only required the White House to prevent a veto-proof, two-thirds majority from forming in each chamber. With 46 Senate Democrats and 188 House Democrats, that meant limiting defections to fewer than 13 in the Senate and 42 in the House. On Thursday, just four Democrats voted to break a filibuster in the Senate on a motion to disapprove of the Iran deal, keeping the accord alive, with Pelosi’s office announcing it had enough support to sustain a potential veto.
Given the more progressive bent in the House Democratic Caucus, the White House always viewed the House as its firewall – and spent ample resources and time to ensure that the dam didn’t break.
Bit of a mixed metaphor there, but we get the point. So how did he do it?
He used the dim but astoundingly lucky Nancy Pelosi …
Soon after the deal was announced in July, Pelosi announced her backing and worked furiously with the White House to keep Democrats in line. Through August, aides said, Pelosi was on the phone during trips across the country, including in Napa Valley, California, and New Orleans at an event recognizing the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, speaking to every member of her caucus – including some repeatedly.
Democrats still raised major concerns – namely over how Iranian nuclear sites could be inspected, how other countries would react if the U.S. walked away from the deal and whether rolling back sanctions against Iran would empower the country and threaten Israel.
When questions were raised, relevant Cabinet members would try to iron out those concerns. And when the pressure from the President was needed, he would intensify his lobbying.
Pelosi said Thursday that Obama knew the agreement so well he could teach a “masters class” on the topic.
She relied heavily on the President and his team to deliver the key votes. Soon after the deal was announced, Biden traveled to the House Democratic Caucus to lobby his party behind it, followed by visits from Moniz and Kerry. Then the White House focused heavily on small groups, dispatching Wendy Sherman, an under secretary of state, to brief the Congressional Black Caucus in late July.
Right before the August recess, with fears that angry town hall meetings in members’ home states could shift the debate, Obama spent more than two hours in the White House’s Blue Room with two dozen House Democrats, answering questions from skeptical members. In a meeting with 12 House Democrats in late July who were leaning against the plan, Obama convinced half of them to support it, aides said.
“This agreement is not perfect,” Pelosi said Thursday. “But I never have seen a perfect anything.”
Despite losing the support of Schumer, an influential Jewish Democrat who represents a staunchly pro-Israel constituency in New York, Democrats in the Senate were not too concerned it would have a broader impact. Schumer promised not to lobby Democrats to oppose the deal — and Democratic leaders took full advantage of that.
What can one say of a man who knows something is terribly dangerous and wrong, will vote against it, but solemnly undertakes not to tell others how dangerous and wrong it is?
As Reid and senior White House aides were coordinating on strategy, Durbin was calling members of his caucus on his family trip to Oregon in August.
“Wherever we are, we have to do our work – and he was on the phone with me and others the entire time,” Reid said Thursday as Durbin stood next to him.
Throughout the recess, a number of Democrats who supported the deal ended up meeting with fierce opponents in order to explain their line of thinking.
Now comes a particularly sickening part:
Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, ended up meeting with Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in Miami. He talked with officials from the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including Holocaust survivors.
“It was one of the most respectful, friendly meetings,” Nelson said.
No anger then? No desperation? No terror? Wow!
Some resisted the White House’s help in order to show their independence from a President who senators said often expressed how important the deal was to him personally.
“I never talked to the President,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. “I got one call from (national security adviser) Susan Rice. I told them, ‘I don’t want any calls from the administration, so leave me alone.'”
Wonderful! So there was one person who judged the issue for herself?
McCaskill said she eventually backed the deal after consulting with ambassadors of Asian countries over what they would do with Iranian money they were holding if the United States walked away from the agreement.
“Suffice it to say, I am for the agreement,” she said.
Others received attention from the President, among them Peters, the Michigan Democrat, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who faces a potentially tough re-election next year.
After taking an official trip to the Middle East, Peters invited Moniz to spend time in Detroit answering questions from skeptical voters. He also spoke to Obama twice on the phone, in addition to an Oval Office meeting.
“I still have a lot of concerns,” Peters said Wednesday, though he’s backing the deal because he believes there are no better options.
No better options than to guarantee that Iran will become a nuclear power?
There are a few Democrats who understand what’s at stake:
Privately, Reid worked to ensure that Democrats would be prepared to filibuster the deal – something that infuriated Republicans who wanted a straight-up-or-down vote so Obama would be forced to veto the resolution of disapproval. But at a private lunch Wednesday, Reid convinced his party to join in the filibuster, even as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez pushed back on that strategy.
Menendez demonstrated that Obama couldn’t win over all of his party. Like Menendez and Schumer, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, opposed the deal. And Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who rarely speaks to the President, announced his opposition after he heard strong criticism at town hall meetings in his state.
The evening before Manchin announced his opposition this week, the President called up the conservative Democrat to get him to flip. Manchin, at home on his boat parked at National Harbor in Maryland, wouldn’t budge.
“He made his pitch, and I respect that,” Manchin said. “I think he knew that I was in a different place.”
“It’s a no-brainer for him,” he continued. “I said, ‘Mr. President, I understand that’.”
In the end, it wouldn’t matter. Republicans fell two senators shy Thursday of breaking a Democratic filibuster, which kept the Iran deal from even coming up for a vote.
How much effort did Republican leaders put in to get the deal voted down? How much has Obama been helped by the slackness, or naivety, or stupidity, or indifference, or secret sympathy of leading Republicans, who could have prevented the victory the Islam-loving president has scored today?
At least the names of those American politicians who voted for this baleful deal, struck by a treacherous US president with an evil Islamic regime, are on record. Their names will be forever attached to the calamity that will ensue.
Almost equally culpable are those who have failed to prevent it, and their names are on it too.
It looks as if the world may have reason to be grateful to the cruel musty old men who rule Iran (!) – for sparing it from the terrible “deal” Barack Obama thinks he has concluded with them.
The Ayatollahs will not comply with the agreement unless and until all sanctions against Iran are lifted.
But the Obama administration is telling America that Iran must first agree to comply before sanctions are lifted.
Dare we hope that this impasse will continue indefinitely? That the “deal” will fade away?
The crowing [by the Democrats] this week over Barack Obama’s success in gaining congressional support for his Iranian nuclear deal against Binyamin Netanyahu’s defeat was premature. The July 14 Vienna deal between Iran and six world powers was just the first round of the game. Decisive rounds are still to come, before either of the two can be said to have won or lost.
The biggest outstanding hurdle in the path of the accord is Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his silence on where he stands on the deal whether by a yea or a nay. Without his nod, nothing goes forward in the revolutionary republic. So the nuclear accord is not yet home and dry either in Tehran or even in Washington.
While Obama gathered congressional support in Washington for the accord to pass, Khamenei made three quiet yet deadly remarks:
1. “Sanctions against Tehran must be lifted completely rather than suspended. If the framework of sanctions is to be maintained, then why did we negotiate?”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest answered him: “Iran will only see sanctions relief if it complies with the nuclear deal.”
There lies the rub. For the Obama administration, it is clear that Iran must first comply with the accord before sanctions are eased, whereas Tehran deems the accord moot until sanctions are lifted – regardless of its approval by the US Congress.
Here is the first stalemate, and not the last. … Long exhausting rounds lie ahead that could drag on longer even than the protracted negotiations, which Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif brought to a close in Vienna.
2. Khamenei next took the step of referring the accord to the Majlis (parliament) for approval, pretending that to be legally in force, the accord requires [its] majority vote … He put it this way, “I believe… that it is not in the interest of the majlis to be sidelined.”
This step was in fact designed to sideline President Hassan Rouhani, on whom Obama and Kerry counted to get the nuclear deal through, and snatch from him the authority for signing it – or even determining which body had this competence.
It had been the intention of Rouhani and Zarif to put the accord before the 12-member Council of Guardians for their formal endorsement. But Khamenei pulled this rug out from under their feet and kept the decision out of the hands of the accord’s proponents.
3. His next step was to declare with a straight face: “I have no recommendation for the majlis on how to examine it. It is up to the representatives of the nation to decide whether to reject or ratify it.”
This step in the nuclear chess game was meant to show American democracy up in a poor light compared to that of the Revolutionary Republic (sic). While Obama worked hard to bring his influence to bear on Congress, he, Khamenei, refrained from leaning on the lawmakers, who were freed to vote fair and square on the deal’s merits.
This of course is a charade. … The ayatollah exercises dictatorial control over the majlis through his minion, Speaker Ali Larijani. He has absolute trust in the lawmakers never reaching any decision on the nuclear deal, or anything else, without his say-so.
Congressional approval in Washington of the nuclear accord may give President Obama a fine boost but will be an empty gesture for winning endorsement in Tehran. It might even be counter-productive if American lawmakers carry out their intention of hedging the nuclear deal round with stipulations binding Iran to full compliance with the commitments it undertook in Vienna, or also continue to live with existing sanctions or even face new ones.
Still some room for hope then?
Hmm. What’s the betting Obama will cave to Ayatollah Khamenei?