New broom sweeping dirty 1

John Kerry, newly appointed Secretary of State, starts off badly.

In an article at Commentary, Rick Richman explains:

The State Department said yesterday it is seeking release of $495.7 million in U.S. funds for the Palestinian Authority designated for 2012, and another $200 million designated so far for 2013 – all of which is currently subject to a congressional hold imposed after the PA sought UN recognition as a “state” and began yet another “reconciliation” with Hamas. At yesterday’s State Department press conference, spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked to “give us a sense of where things are with Congress” on this issue and responded that the administration is working with Congress to get the money released to the PA, because:

“[W]e think it’s very, very important that they remain effective in supporting the needs of the Palestinian people … So we’re continuing to work through this. I would simply say that the Secretary feels extremely strongly that it is time now to get this support to the Palestinian Authority.”

Ms. Nuland said Secretary Kerry has been raising this issue “in every conversation he’s had with his colleagues” in Congress. But if it is very, very important to get the money to the PA, and if Secretary Kerry feels extremely strongly that now is the time, the people he should be talking to are not in Congress. They are in the PA.

The PA can get the money released by assuring the U.S. that they will (1) not take further steps to change the legal status of the disputed territories outside negotiations with Israel (since the Palestinians promised in the Oslo agreement not to take “any [such] step”); and (2) not reconcile with an organization [Hamas] designated by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT), and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) — particularly when the PA promised in the Road Map to dismantle the FTO/SDT/SDGT, which has now waged two rocket wars against Israel and refuses to endorse any of the Quartet requirements for the “peace process.”

If it is not important to the PA to provide such assurances, it is hard to see why it is important for the U.S. to provide more money (much less nearly $700 million), nor why anyone would feel that now is the time to do it. On the contrary, this would seem to be the appropriate time to communicate that violating promises – and refusing to promise to abide by them in the future — has consequences. The administration should be telling the PA it feels extremely strongly that it is very, very important to provide the assurances now. Instead, it is pressing Congress to waive them.

In his first week in office, the new secretary of state has just sent a strong message that he believes the PA’s refusal to confirm its two central promises should draw no penalty. He thinks the problem is not the PA, but the Congress.

Heckuva job, John.

The Western powers have been conniving with the Arab states for 65 years to keep the Palestinians (Arab refugees displaced by wars of aggression the Arab states launched against Israel) in a state of dependency. The Arab states keep them as refugees, refusing to integrate them, so that their condition might be a permanent reproach to the conscience of Israel and the West. Not to their own conscience. They don’t have such a nuisance of a thing. And the Western powers have let them do it, played along, salving that conscience of theirs not by insisting that some of the 21 Arab states assimilate them, but by giving the refugees charity, so making a beggar nation of them. And the Palestinians have made themselves into a nation of terrorists – not against their fellow Arabs who are responsible for their abject condition, but against Israel.

John Kerry, it transpires, wants them to continue in this deplorable way. Living on handouts. Lobbing rockets at Israel. From schools, hospitals, houses, so retaliation will hurt children, the sick, and helpless families.

So the Western conscience will be wrung again.

How long can this state of affairs continue? How many generations must be sacrificed to Arab hatred, revenge, and spite, with the generous support of the Western powers acting out of well-meaning stupidity?

The Arab reply is: “Until Israel ceases to exist.”

Obama and his three new appointees, John Kerry at State, Chuck Hagel at Defense, and John Brennan heading the CIA, will do all they can to weaken Israel. While pretending that they are Israel’s friends, acting in Israel’s own best interests – if only those dumb Israelis could see it.

We wait to see if our prediction is right. We’d be more than happy to be proved wrong.

Four men, four years – to disable America? 3

Barack Obama loves Islam. He has members of the Muslim Brotherhood ( MB) advising his administration. He has advanced the MB to power in North African countries. He will not allow the word “terrorism” to be associated with acts of terrorism carried out by Muslims in America. He has persistently strengthened agressive Islam and weakened Islam’s first and main target, Israel. He does all he can to prevent Israel from destroying the Iranian sites where nuclear weapons are being developed to be used against Israel.

He needs men beside him in power who share his pro-Islam and anti-Israel emotion. He needs them in the three departments of government where they can be most effective in carrying out the policies that arise from his intense pro-Islam bias: State, Defense, Intelligence. He has aptly chosen John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and John Brennan.

Barry Rubin writes (in part):

This trio in power … along with Obama himself could be called the four horseman of the Apocalypse for U.S. foreign policy. …

Their ideas and views are horrible. This is especially so on Middle Eastern issues but how good are they on anything else? True, they are all hostile to Israel but this isn’t the first time people who think that way held high office. Far worse is that they are pro-Islamist as well as being dim-witted about U.S. interests in a way no foreign policy team has been in the century since America walked onto the world stage.

Brennan is no less than the father of the pro-Islamist policy. What Obama is saying is this: My policy of backing Islamists has worked so well, including in Egypt, that we need to do even more! …

They are all stupid people. Some friends said I shouldn’t write this because it is a subjective judgment and sounds mean-spirited. But honest, it’s true. … Smart people can make bad judgments; regular people with common sense often make bad judgments less often. But stupid, arrogant people with terrible ideas are a disaster.

Brennan’s only life accomplishment has been to propose backing radical Islamists. As a reward he isn’t just being made head of intelligence for the Middle East but for the whole world! Has Brennan any proven administrative skill? Any knowledge of other parts of the world? No. All he has is a proximity to Obama and a very bad policy concept. What’s especially ironic here is that by now the Islamist policy has clearly failed and a lot of people are having second thoughts.

With Brennan running the CIA, though, do you think there will be critical intelligence evaluations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, or even Hamas? Is the CIA going to warn U.S. leaders about the repression against women, Christians, and moderates? Will there be warnings that Islamists are taking over Syria or reports on Islamist involvement in killing Americans in Benghazi? Can we have confidence about U.S. policy toward Iran?

To get some insight into his thinking, consider the incident in which a left-wing reporter, forgetting there were people listening, reminded Brennan that in an earlier private conversation he admitted favoring engagement not only with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah but also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. …

Kerry, of course, was the most energetic backer of sponsoring Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad before the revolt began. Now he will be the most energetic backer of putting the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Syria. Here is a man who once generalized about American soldiers in Vietnam as being baby-killers and torturers. …

As for Hagel, suffice it to say that the embarrassing quotes and actions from him in the past – including his opposition to sanctions against Iran – fueled a response to his proposed nomination so strong that the administration had to back down for a while.

No, it does not suffice to say just that. There is much more to be said (see below).

Obama has been president of the United States for four years. Yet in foreign policy, having some decent and competent people in high positions mitigated the damage.

Did they? How? And who were they, we wonder.

Well, the reins are now loosed; the muzzle is off. …

To get a sense of his thinking, Brennan [wrote] … “If the United States actually demonstrates that it will work to help advance rather than thwart Iranian interests, the course of Iranian politics as well as the future of U.S.-Iranian relations could be forever altered.”

The Obama Administration followed this advice during its first two years with the result being total failure.

[Brennan] also proposes a U.S. policy, “to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system….” This step, he suggests, will reduce “the influence of violent extremists in the organization.”

Of course, Hizballah does not need to stage terrorist attacks if it holds state power …

Rubin is overlooking something here. Hezbollah does hold state power in Lebanon, and it is still a terrorist organization carrying out acts of terrorism.

What Brennan — and the Obama Administration — fails to understand regarding this point. The danger is not terrorism but a dangerous revolutionary movement that becomes even more dangerous if it controls entire states, their resources, and their military forces.

And here we think Barry Rubin’s pessimism doesn’t take him far enough to touch the appalling truth. We don’t think there is a failure of understanding. We read the signs to indicate pretty plainly that Obama wants the revolutionary movement of Islam to “control entire states, their resources, and their military forces”. And their poisonous gases. And their nuclear arms.

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About Chuck Hagel: this is 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 and to Jews in general. 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. 

Hagel has become the darling of the radical anti-war crowd … [and] is also beloved by Israel-haters and anti-Semites, including the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Iranian regime’s TV network mouthpiece, TVPress …

Hagel believes that U.S. foreign policy has been skewed too much in Israel’s favor. He ascribed the pro-Israel tilt to the power of what he called the “Jewish lobby,” which he said had the ability to “intimidate” members of Congress. While serving in the Senate, he boasted that he was not sent to Washington to serve as an “Israeli Senator.” This was an obvious swipe at his Senate colleagues who believed in supporting the only true democracy in the Middle East. Hagel was also using the age-old code words of anti-Semites who accuse Jews of dual loyalties. …

In August 2006, Hagel joined only eleven other senators in refusing to write the European Union asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. …

Although the terrorist organization Hamas has yet to renounce violence and its covenant to destroy Israel, Hagel signed a letter delivered just days before Obama was to take office for his first term as president urging Obama to talk to leaders of Hamas.

Israel is surrounded by enemies determined to destroy the Jewish state. It is also a strategic partner in our own war against global Islamist jihadists – sharing intelligence, developing state-of-the art body armor used by our troops and anti-missile defense systems that are more sophisticated than our own. Yet 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.

Even if Hagel had not shown the kind of antipathy towards Israel that has won him praise from the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations and earned him the “anti-Israel” title on Iranian state TV, Hagel would still be a complete disaster as Secretary of Defense. He 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. …

Protecting the American people from what? From their own Constitution? From liberty?

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About John Kerry: this is from Discover the Networks:

After his discharge from the Navy in early 1970, Kerry became a prominent figure in the anti-America, pro-Hanoi crowd of antiwar protesters personified most visibly by Jane Fonda. Like so many of those activists, Kerry publicly maligned U.S. soldiers. He became a spokesman and organizer for the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)

During an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1970, Kerry, depicting the United States as a country whose aggressive impulses needed to be reined in by outside forces, said: “I’m an internationalist. I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of theUnited Nations.” …

In May 1970, Kerry met with North Vietnamese/Viet Cong delegations at the Paris Peace Talks, where they discussed a variety of proposals—especially the eight points enumerated by the top [North] Vietnamese delegate, Nguyen Thi Madame Binh. Kerry strongly advised the U.S. Senate to accept those points.

At that time, Kerry himself acknowledged that his visits to Paris were “on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera.” This was significant because a federal law known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice prescribed severe punishment (including, in some cases, the death penalty) for any person who “without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”

So what happened? Why no death penalty for John Kerry?

During the ensuing months, Kerry became increasingly strident in his insistence that the U.S. accept Madame Binh’s (i.e., the Viet Cong’s) peace proposals. VVAW went so far as to sign a “People’s Peace Treaty” (reportedly drafted in Communist East Germany in December 1970), whose nine points were all extracted from a list of Viet Cong conditions for ending the war. Kerry fully supported this treaty. …

Kerry marched alongside many revolutionary Communists. Exploiting his presence at such rallies, the Communist publication Daily World prominently published photographs of Kerry addressing anti-war protestors, some of whom were carrying banners with portraits of Communist Party leader Angela Davis. Openly organized by known Communists, these rallies were typified by what the December 12, 1971 edition of the Herald Traveler called an “abundance of Vietcong flags, clenched fists raised in the air, and placards plainly bearing legends in support of China, Cuba, the USSR, North Korea and the Hanoi government.”

The organization Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry stated:

“As a national leader of VVAW, Kerry campaigned against the effort of the United States to contain the spread of Communism. He used the blood of servicemen still in the field for his own political advancement by claiming that their blood was being shed unnecessarily or in vain. … Under Kerry’s leadership, VVAW members mocked the uniform of United States soldiers by wearing tattered fatigues marked with pro-communist graffiti. They dishonored America by marching in demonstrations under the flag of the Viet Cong enemy.” …

On April 18, 1985, Kerry and fellow Democratic Senator Tom Harkin—in a trip arranged by the Institute for Policy Studies—traveled to Nicaragua to meet with that country’s president, Daniel Ortega, whose communist Sandinista government had strong ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba. …

In 2001, Kerry voted to authorize the use of military force against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. He took this position based on his firm conviction—which he publicly articulated on numerous occasions—that Saddam was seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction. … But as the political winds shifted, Kerry and his fellow congressional Democrats began to portray, with ever-growing frequency, the Iraq War as a foreign-policy debacle that had been launched without justifiable cause. …

In the summer of 2012, Kerry delivered a speech on the Senate Floor warning of the dangers of “climate change,” which he said was “as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about … ”  

Since the early 2000s, Kerry has been the federal government’s highest-ranking apologist for Syrian President Bashar Assad. …

In November 2010, disclosures of diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website revealed that Kerry had been busy undermining Israel as well: He had told leaders in Qatar that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, and that the capital of a Palestinian state should be established in East Jerusalem, as part of the “peace process.”

This is the man, with this record, who is to be the top diplomat representing the United States of America to the world.

The Iraq war was not for oil 6

Jonah Goldberg, writing at Townhall, lists among Chuck Hagel’s many disqualifications for an appointment as Defense Secretary, his wrong-headed belief that the Iraq war was a war for oil. (The whole article is worth reading.)

The Iraq war … was according to Hagel a war for oil.

This belief is prevalent all over the world and needs to be debunked. This thorough debunking job comes from the excellent Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy:

When the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, one of the most common perceptions was that the primary motive behind the war was the country’s significant oil reserves.

According to a 2002 Pew Poll, 44 per cent British, 75 per cent French, 54 per cent Germans, and 76 per cent Russians were greatly suspicious of US intentions in Iraq and bought into the “blood for oil” narrative. … Only 22 per cent of Americans believed that the Bush administration’s policy was driven by oil interests.

At the time, experts pointed out that this argument was deeply flawed and a lazy mantra of the war opponents.

While Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, its output in the early 2000s was modest and accounted for only 3 per cent of total global productivity. Due to the geology of the oilfields and, above all, the poor infrastructure destroyed by years of war, Saddam’s negligence, and the sanctions regime, Iraq had the lowest yield of any major producer, amounting to just 0.8 per cent of its potential output.

By the end of 2011, the US had spent almost $802bn on funding the war and, as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies pointed out, Iraq had additional debts of over $100 billion.

On top of that, the US only imports 12.9 per cent of its oil from the Middle East. 8.1 per cent is provided by Saudi Arabia.

In other words, invading Iraq was an extremely expensive undertaking for the US-led coalition with no guarantee or prospect of considerable profitability.

As Daniel Yergin argued at the time: “no US administration would launch so momentous a campaign just to facilitate a handful of oil development contracts and a moderate increase in supply-half a decade from now.” …

10 years after the invasion of Iraq, who is profiting most from the country’s oil reserves? The US? The UK? No. PetroChina, Russian Lukoil, and Pakistan Petroleum – fierce opponents of the war.

On the other hand, as Germany’s leading weekly news magazine DER SPIEGEL reported this week, “America has not a single, significant oil deal with Baghdad” anymore.

EXXON is moving out of Iraq and PetroChina has taken the lead in the auction of West Qurna – one of the largest oil fields in the world – with Russian Lukoil as a potential competitor. If the Chinese bid is successful, the country will account for 32 per cent of total oil contracts in Iraq.

The “blood for oil” conspiracists owe President Bush an apology.

An apology to President Bush? Over a mis-ascription of motive for the Iraq War? It won’t happen, of course. But at least the truth is on record.