Obama: Al Qaeda Takeover of Iraqi Cities Not a Military Problem

obama-blackberry-e1347275483113

It’s true. Obama is too smart to be president. Can’t someone get him a job delivering TED talks or a New York Times column.

But after Kerry promised speedy action, Obama preceded his fundraising trip to Palm Springs (at taxpayer expense) by saying nothing new about Al Qaeda’s capture of entire Iraqi cities. Then he claimed it wasn’t primarily a military problem.

Maybe I lack the wisdom to appreciate how a sizable well armed force seizing entire cities is not a military problem. But then I’m not a liberal.

War is the ultimate military problem.

Before heading to a Laguna Beach fundraiser, where 25 supporters paid $32,400 for a shot at him, Obama said, “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq security forces and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.”

Sure. He’s been saying that ever since the crisis began. Here’s a nutty idea, maybe he should have been on top of this from the beginning instead of treating it like extra work.

And maybe he can skip the fundraiser when a major terrorist group is taking over entire cities. But he didn’t do it for Benghazi. Why would he do it here.

The Post-President also enlightened the ignorant rabble on the sophisticated nature of this crisis.

“This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge…  So, any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force.”

That’s obviously not going to happen. Certainly not overnight. This is currently a military crisis, because regardless of how bad Iraq’s government is, we’re no longer there for nation building.

We are interested in the situation because of the threat that Al Qaeda power poses to national security.

Obama refuses to get that. Instead he keeps repeating the same lines he was saying in 2007 about Iraq not being a military problem.

When a group at war with the US is seizing heavy firepower, huge amounts of money and large populations… it is a military problem.

War is the ultimate military problem.

  • kasandra

    I listened to Obama’s pre-departure-for-fundraising-and-undoubtedly-some-golf speech and was appalled. Now, Malaki may not be a good leader and may not have unified his country just as claimed by the most divisive U.S. president since the Civil War. But that’s all irrelevant. An al Qaeda controlled terrorist state in the middle of the Middle East, controlling military power, the populace, substantial funds and natural resources, simply is not in the U.S. national interest. The national interest of the nation of which Obama is the president. And his reaction for days has been to dither, create requirements for our involvement that can’t be met while there is still time for meaningful action on our part, and repeat the Iranian line that the red line for action is ISIS (now apparently ISIL) desecrating Shia holy sites. An absolutely shameful performance. Again.

    • Pete

      The CIA considered Afghanistan an opportunity to bleed the USSR. They did not think they could win especially considering the political climate back home created by the LEFT. Ultimately the mood shifted and more money was forthcoming, but a person would not have predicted it considering how firmly entrenched the Democrats were and considering the military drawdown.

      I consider this an opportunity for a bleeding campaign. All we have to do is nothing and let them kill each other.

      We had a better way, a more humanitarian way. It was one with elections and democracy. But Obama came and out an end to that,.

      • Drakken

        There is no humanitarian or a more democratic way in Iraq, the divide between Shia and Sunni’s and not to mention the Kurds in the north was one big clustef**k in the making. If we were smart, and so far we have show we aren’t, we would arm the Kurds with shiny new toys like the Russians are doing and let them take what they can and let the shia and Sunni’s slaughter each other.

        • Pete

          I wouldn’t totally trust the Kurds either. They kill each other pretty good between the communist faction and other factions. But they are more trustworthy than the Arabs in the region. Still the ideal has merit.

          Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar did fight with us against Al Qaeda in 2007 and it literally cost them their heads. One tribal leader would be assassinated and his brother or cousin would step up and be assassinated also. Then the next one would step up.

          And then America left.

          I am not sure the Anbar tribes would trust us. Well they could until the next election brought another D into office. I think the only Democrat I like somewhat or would trust to wage war is Truman. LBJ might not cut and run but he could micromanage it to he!!.

    • truebearing

      Obama is not in the best interest of the US, or anywhere else. There are two explanations for Obama’s refusal to deal with any of the threats to the US:

      One is that he is so bound up by his magic-one-size-fits-all ideology that he can’t apprehend truth. The other is that he is evil and wants to assist these islamists by his passivity. Or perhaps they are just different sides of the same coin.

  • quillerm

    Human Tide of Children Sweeps Across U.S. Borders

    So many children are flowing across the Mexican border into Texas without their parents that government facilities are overwhelmed trying to process them all. Most of the liberal media is ignoring the 50-100,000 children that are being dumped on our borders. Keeping this massive humanitarian disaster from the American people is a political move. Democrats will be contacting the parents, cousins, uncles or other relatives of these Illegal kids to join them in the US. All this chaos designed to corrupt our election system and give democrats an edge. Billions in welfare, millions of more people in unemployment lines, all for political gain.

  • pete

    OBAMA BLOWS…. and the political winds shift into a VERY UGLY direction… again.

  • truebearing

    Military aggression is not a problem as long as it Muslims, or Russians, committing the aggression, but if the US defends its national interests, we are imposing our values, therefore always wrong.

    If military aggression isn’t the problem, then Islam is. Iraq is a Muslim country. The aggressors are Muslims. The Iranians are Muslims. The victims are Muslims…for now. The problem is then the religion of Islam.

    Obama contends that somehow all factions in Iraq will get along if they are treated fairly. Isis thinks being treated fairly includes allowing them to have total power, according to their homicidal interpretation of Islam. Needless to say, Obama’s community organizer BS is laughable.

    What appears to be happening in the world of islamists is similar to what has happened in American prisons. Black prison gangs were raping, beating, and killing whites and hispanics, so each race formed its own gang for security. The Aryans purposefully went out of their way to retaliate against blacks in the most horrifying ways they could as a deterrent to attacking their members. ISIS seems to be employing a similar strategy to intimidate rivals. It isn’t that they believe in Shariah any more than the other groups. It is a strategy of intimidation. Terrorism is the weapon of the terrorist, so what we are seeing is a weapons race, only this time the primary weapon is terror. It’s working. The Iraqis threw down their weapons and ran.

    The problem for the West is that this Terror Race will escalate to chemical, biological, then nuclear weapons. There is no moral restraint with these evil Islamists. The other problem for the West is Obama.

    • hiernonymous

      “Military aggression is not a problem for Obama as long as it is Muslims, or Russians, committing the aggression, but if the US defends its national interests, we are imposing our values, therefore always wrong.”

      Except that each element of this statement is demonstrably wrong. The Obama administration has opposed Russian aggression, it has opposed Muslim mililtary aggression, and it has forcefully defended U.S. interests. Noting that some actions taken in the name of defending the national interest have proved counterproductive is hardly the same as suggesting that all efforts to defend the national interest are “always wrong.” This knee-jerk resort to straw men and false dichotomies is a flaw in your thinking.

      “Obama contends that somehow all factions in Iraq will get along if they are treated fairly.”

      Does he? Or does he contend that no lasting peace is possible if one of the contending parties is given control of state security and allowed to use it to suppress the others? Consider that the Sunni interests were generally represented by the very secular Ba’ath until Bush fils invaded and destroyed the party apparatus; over the next several years, the power vacuum was filled by Islamists. You ridicule the idea that the Sunni interests must be taken into account, but it was precisely the attempt to marginalize the Sunnis that created the Islamist entity that now exists. Now you appear to be arguing that, with U.S. miscalculations having created this enemy, we must double down on our mistakes as the only acceptable path forward. (Note the similarity, by the way, between the creation of ISIS and the creation of Hizballah.)

      “Obama’s community organizer BS is laughable.”

      Except, of course, that it wasn’t “Obama’s community organizer BS” that created this crisis. Obama didn’t destroy the old Sunni power structure, he didn’t put a vengeful Shi’a in power. While you mock his more thoughtful approach, you might want to think a bit on how well the traditional Realist and neocon approaches have worked out.

      “What appears to be happening in the world of islamists is similar to what has happened in American prisons.”

      What appears to be happening in the world of Islamists is similar to what has been happening in the world of Islamists. We’ve seen this play out before, most obviously in Lebanon. Twice the Israelis tried the brute force prescription – the first time in ejecting the PLO from Lebanon, the second in 2006 with the announced intention of destroying Hizballah’s military capability. The first successfully displaced the PLO and created in its stead Hizballah, an organization that makes the PLO look like a Sunday knitting group, and the second left Hizballah ascendant in the Lebanese power equation. But you seem to be sure that there’s a military solution to this problem.

      “The problem for the West is that this Terror Race will escalate to chemical, biological, then nuclear weapons. There is no moral restraint with these evil Islamists.”

      There are legitimate concerns about what is happening in Iraq, but hyperbole won’t make them more understandable. By your description, there have been Islamists in control of chemical and nuclear stockpiles for years. The world hasn’t ended yet.

      I think the more interesting possibility here is that the Sunni-Shi’a split will spill over international borders. This could take several forms, from a more rationally bordered Middle East to the outbreak of a regional war in which all of the tensions from Dhahran to Alexandretta erupt at once.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        “Obama administration has …. forcefully defended U.S. interests.”

        Some of their Tweets even had forceful exclamation points.

        • hiernonymous

          One of those exclamation points killed Osama bin Ladin.

          (Cue the explanations of why the administration didn’t really mean to succeed there.)

          • truebearing

            Why did it take Obama 8 months, or more, to finally pull the trigger, or was the story that Panetta finally authorized the mission the truth? And why coulldn’t we see photos of the evil mass murderer? Obama claimed it was because he didn’t want to inflame the Muslim world, but then danced on Bin Laden’s grave for two years as if he personally led the raid.

            The credit for Bin Laden’s killing goes to the SEALs and George Bush, who is the one responsible for building up our intelligence and special forces capabilities. Whoever follows Obama into the Whitehouse will be lucky if he has the assets to put down a rabid dog in the Bahamas.

          • hiernonymous

            Right on cue.

            Sorry, no amount of partisan tooth-gnashing will change these facts:

            1. Osama bin Ladin, 10 Mar 1957 – 2 May 2011

            2. Commander-in-Chief, USA, on 2 May 2011: Barack Obama

          • Marcus

            I expected as much for you. You get the concept of leading and lagging indicators & effects in economics, weather and policies?
            the sun warms the earth and warms it up. In the northern hemisphere the shortest day is December 21st. You might expect than it would be the coldest day of the year more than any other day. But it takes a while for the cumulative effect of shorter days to be felt and the coldest day isn’t until 2 or 3 weeks later.
            Likewise Obama was the recipient of all the intel work that had gone on from 2001 through January 2009. He did not start from scratch.
            So try again.

          • Americana

            I sort of doubt that’s the point hieronymous is making. Of course the entire intelligence chain and the SEAL teams get the majority of the credit for the success of the raid. Pres. Obama was only responsible for analyzing and then consenting to the international political risks involved w/pursuing the type of unannounced mission they were performing. The days before the raid Obama had those in the loop given one last intelligence briefing and then had them vote Yay or Nay and went home to make his decision. He decided it was a go and that it would be a go without informing the Pakistanis in any way thus increasing both the potential hazards of the mission as well as hopefully ensuring the surprise factor. Those aspects of the mission which were within his purview were handled in a way that benefited the mission and helped make it a success. If he’d chickened out because of the risks inherent in attacking the wrong guy and being detected, or if he’d contacted the Pakistanis to avoid international issues, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          • hiernonymous

            “I sort of doubt that’s the point hieronymous is making. Of course the entire intelligence chain and the SEAL teams get the majority of the credit for the success of the raid.”

            Sure. There are always a couple of different ways of looking at ‘credit.’ You can always talk about the extent to which the politicians and senior leadership are responsible for successful ops versus the actual operators, and that’s not at all what I’m discussing here. It’s more a question of which administration is responsible.

            Put most simply, if you’re going to insist that “the buck stops here” and that a president is responsible for what happens on his watch, then you have to be fair and credit him for what happens on his watch as well.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            He gets credit for what he did. In the conversations here, it’s far more trivial than you seem to think.

          • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

            He gets credit for making the very easy decision to go ahead with the raid, but nothing else. The vital intelligence was mostly gathered on Bush’s watch – sorry.

          • hiernonymous

            Apparently not enough of the intelligence was gathered on Bush’s watch to take down OBL on Bush’s watch – sorry.

          • Ed

            The intel collected has not been declassified, which is unfortunate in some ways.
            Let’s say that during Bush’s tenure, he collected 90% of the info needed to capture OBL. That is by the time Obama was elected the glass was 90% full, the task was 90% completed. At that point you are to the point where you see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep going.
            Now if none of the spade work had been done and Obama was confronted with task to which 0% were done, he might have done nothing or it might not get done until 2015 or 2018 on someone else’s watch.
            I had a prof. who said like a taxi driver, who has to go down all or many of the dead ends of city to know the street grid well , students of a field had to go down dead ends in academic work to know the subject well. I can see that you see no validity in what the prof said.

          • Americana

            You can’t arbitrarily select a percentage of the intelligence collected under Pres. Bush (especially such a high number!) and assert that as if it’s fact. Both Presidents deserve credit, but the CIA are the ones who deserve the ultimate credit for the intelligence gathering just as the SEALs deserve the entire credit for the operational end of the attack.

          • hiernonymous

            OBL was killed in May 2011, not May of 2009. Every president builds on what has come before, but the idea that a military operation conducted well into a presidency is somehow not the responsibility of the president conducting it is a bit silly.

            You also need to be careful about making sure your concepts are applicable. Certainly, the intel work and capabilities inherited from the previous administration play a role is determining what is possible for a successor. Equally certainly, the intel work and military capabilities had not been sufficient to kill or capture OBL by Jan 2009. The capabilities that set the parameters for such operations do lag. to an extent, but 2 years into the Obama presidency, he had gained ownership of the capabilities and, certainly, for what was done with those capabilities. For example, it’s not commonly acknowledged that it was Carter, not Reagan, that began the massive military buildup of the ’80s, and that buildup certainly opened up possibilities for Bush pere in dealing with the Kuwait situation. That doesn’t change the fact that it was Bush, not Reagan or Carter, who was responsible for DESERT STORM.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “OBL was killed in May 2011, not May of 2009. Every president builds on what has come before, but the idea that a military operation conducted well into a presidency is somehow not the responsibility of the president conducting it is a bit silly.”

            The point is that all things considered, it’s trivial.

          • hiernonymous

            “The point is that all things considered, it’s trivial.”

            Could you elaborate? Do you mean the decision to undertake the operation? If so, I have to disagree. Given our fraught relationship with a well- (and nuclear-) armed Pakistan, neither the decision to undertake the operation nor the operational planning involved was trivial.

            If you mean that the effect on national security was trivial, in the sense that OBL had long since ceased to be the effective central controller of AQ, I suppose you could make that case, though you would need to take the trouble to do so.

            If you meant something else entirely, please explain.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            OBL was just a figurehead and perhaps had some senior leadership role, I don’t think he was a factor so much as a symbol. His chiefs were fully able to fill the gaps in everything but charisma. And they already had plenty of OBL videos in circulation so it might have even been a plus for their cause to have him “martyred.”

            It made Americans feel better when he was killed and very likely didn’t do very much for al Qaeda other than get them pissed off. Although even that was probably anti-climactic to some degree.

            Still, relatively trivial in reality in contrast with how Americans general perceive it.

            Approving a raid in to Pakistan is not trivial, but for the gain of being able to report political success it was an easy one to make IMO.

          • truebearing

            Bin Laden was too hot to be of much use. It was costly and time consuming to have to keep moving and hiding him. He was very tall and stood out from the rest of the jihadi scum, making it all the more difficult to conceal his whereabouts. The intense efforts to capture him would also be a threat to any ongoing operations.

            There is a credible theory that he was outed intentionally by the messenger that ultimately led us to Bin Laden’s hideout. Ayman al-Zawahri may well have wanted total control of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden was in his way. Making Bin Laden a martyr could also have been seen as a way to boost recruitment. It certainly seems to have worked. As Obama has said repeatedly, Al Qaeda is on the run…all the way to Baghdad

          • Americana

            They didn’t keep moving and hiding him. It’s very likely that he headed to the Abbottabad compound immediately after the last significant time he was targeted by American bombing. That’s an odd guess about Ayman al Zawahiri outing bin Laden via the courier considering that the courier followed the very same security protocols throughout the time Osama bin Laden was living in the compound. As for whether or not Ayman al Zawahiri would have ratted him out, nothing I’ve heard has indicated that al Zawhiri did any such thing nor that he’s benefitted all that much from the additional notoriety. He’s not nearly as charismatic as bin Laden. As for bin Laden’s “martyrdom” working to drive recruitment, they’ve got more than that driving their recruitment.

          • truebearing

            Carter began, and never finished anything. More of your pointless palaver you hope won’t be scrutinized. Everything Carter did to ostensibly build up the military was a political ploy to bolster his popularity. I guess you forgot to mention that, being the selectively accurate liar you are.

            Your nonsense about Obama is laughable. Obama has never had a focus on anything other than his destruction of the the US. He doesn’t give a damn about foreign policy. His job is to degrade America in every way.

          • hiernonymous

            “Carter began, and never finished anything. More of your pointless palaver you hope won’t be scrutinized. Everything Carter did to ostensibly build up the military was a political ploy to bolster his popularity.”

            Actually, Carter spent most of his presidency allowing the military to continue its post-Vietnam downward glide path, until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. That was a real wake-up call, and Carter, to his credit, got the message. One might criticize him for waiting so long to decide that the status quo was unsatisfactory, but once he got it, he didn’t let up.

            “I guess you forgot to mention that, being the selectively accurate liar you are.”

            If you can show that I lied, feel free. if you can’t, feel free to apologize.

          • Marcus

            “For example, it’s not commonly acknowledged that it was Carter, not Reagan, that began the massive military buildup of the ’80s”
            Funny, how people debating in forums never like to bring that up until the 3rd or 4th countermove of a debate in a forum.
            The initial drawdown before the ramp up showed the predeliction for wanting butter over guns so badly that they ignored the world. You get a D in the office for 8 years & you see a drawdown followed by a ramp up in the last 2 to 4 years (Carter: check; Clinton; check; Obama drawdown in progress … monotonous isn’t it!). I am supposed to be impressed by their acumen?
            Bureaucracies continue on autopilot under Republicans and Democrats defending their turf, continuing their mission. It was the same way under various Chinese dynasties and in the roman empire. There is a new executive in town and they wait them out. You must have heard that one before (Sociologists tell us that organization are like organism and that they behave similarly. They don’t like to die). That intel work continued under Obama is not a big accomplishment a and does not demonstrate his sterling leadership or managerial skills.
            Ballistic missile defense is a good example. A D will always try to kill the program or barring that defund it as much as possible. So I do not attribute any successes in the program to a D. Those successes happen in spite of them. Given whether something is technically feasible or not it is going to happen in x number of years give or take a number of years (y). The question is it going to happen in x-y years in the future or x+y years in the future.
            So Obama got Osama and you expect me to be happy. Would you be the same type of person that tells me that a person (say Obama) completed a marathon and expect me to say it was impressive. Only later I was to learn he ran the marathon with a time of 12 hours.

          • hiernonymous

            “Funny, how people debating in forums never like to bring that up until the 3rd or 4th countermove of a debate in a forum.”

            How is that of relevance or interest?

            “I am supposed to be impressed by their acumen?”

            I presented a fact. Your emotional response to it doesn’t interest me. Your analysis is a bit misleading, however. The military retrenchment that continued in the early Carter presidency actually began under Nixon and continued under Ford. That doesn’t fall into the partisan breakdown you suggested.

            It’s probably more accurate to observe that we tend to cut back on military spending in the wake of long periods of tension or conflict. That is probably healthy. We can’t and shouldn’t maintain wartime expenditures permanently. The most drastic cutbacks I ever saw were under a Demicratic president and Republican Congress who all enthusiastically agreed that it was time to enjoy a “peace dividend.” It wasn’t pleasant from the inside, but they were probably right to do so.

            “So Obama got Osama and you expect me to be happy. ”

            I have no expectations or interest in your happiness.

            “Would you be the same type of person that tells me that a person (say Obama) completed a marathon and expect me to say it was impressive. ”

            I’m not the type to tell you about someone running a marathon unless we both knew the individual in question, and I thought you knew enough about the runner to understand whether 12 hours was impressive for that person or not.

          • hiernonymous

            *Democratic, of course. For some reason I can’t edit my typo above.

          • .

            The most drastic cutbacks I ever saw were under a Demicratic president and Republican Congress who all enthusiastically agreed that it was time to enjoy a “peace dividend.”
            I wonder what Keynes would say? I know what Pelosi said. Welfare and unemployment insurance boost the economy. Does it really matter which one so long as we spend the money?
            Never mind there are such things as golden hours.

          • .

            ” The military retrenchment that continued in the early Carter presidency actually began under Nixon and continued under Ford”

            Ya, ya,ya, I am bored already.

            Ford was a caretaker president. Nixon was winding down a war the right way. Nixon also had a Democrat Congress. We can deal with more than one input variable here.

            Nothing said Carter had to continue drawing down until he got slapped by reality. The period between 1974 and the 1979 Soviet highwater mark was not pretty. Taking office in 1977 he had more than enough time to see the trends but his 1st budgets were not ramping up the military.

          • hiernonymous

            “Ya, ya,ya, I am bored already.”

            And?

          • .

            “I’m not the type to tell you about someone running a marathon”
            We elect a president to do a specific job and to complete it satisfactorily.
            If 60 year old completes a marathon, I am happy for them. If a world class runner completes a marathon in 8 hours I am concerned or unhappy.
            If a president consistently ekes out 1% growth when 3% was feasible do not expect me to start clapping.
            Same with foreign policy et al.

          • RealAmericana

            The President is not the one who guarantees the growth rate in an economy.

          • .

            He cannot guarantee it be he or she can set the table correctly.
            - Congress passes the budget but the president can submit one.
            - The president can use the bully pulpit to expound for sensible rates. It might help, if the president knew calculus but is to effing stupid.
            etc…

          • Americana

            The last sentence is a little confusing. You’re not saying the President can “use the bully pulpit to expound for sensible GROWTH RATES,” are you? Besides there are a number of economists whose advice is leading to the economic recovery which is happening by the way, all objections to the contrary.

          • truebearing

            He doesn’t admit errors, faults, or crappy reasoning. It disturbs his delusional self-image.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Do you think that coincidence is a compelling argument that POTUS does not want to shrink American power and hegemony? I would even argue that he wants to shrink cultural hegemony. And he has very clear alliances with anti-American national and international factions that also want to shrink our hegemony and possibly destroy us if given a chance.

            He hates America as it is and as it was. He sees himself as a cosmopolitan and sees America as a problem in the world. He’s working to “solve” those alleged problems mendaciously.

          • truebearing

            Thanks to President Bush and the SEALS, not to mention Leon Panetta.

          • Americana

            I’m not sure why you wouldn’t acknowledge the previous head of the CIA before Leon Panetta as deserving the same majority of the credit as you claim for Pres. Bush. Panetta wasn’t the CIA head during “most of the intelligence collecting period” if we use your calculus to arrive at the percentage of credit owed each CIA head. He become head of the CIA in 2009. Panetta arrived at the point where all the intelligence gathering suddenly came together and coalesced. He says somewhere in the story that the CIA had been tracking bin Laden for 7 months, but he doesn’t get more specific than that.
            ______________________________

            From the Mercury News (mercurynews.com):

            He made a risky recommendation to Obama, however, when he urged the president to proceed with a raid on the compound in Pakistan, even though he wasn’t 100 percent certain bin Laden was there.

            “But,” Panetta said, “I always had a test — throughout my political career — which was to ask the average citizen, ‘What would you do knowing what I know?’ And I really felt that if the average citizen knew this was probably the best shot we had at getting bin Laden that they would say, ‘Do it.’ I remember saying exactly that to the president. And ultimately the president, to his credit, made the same decision.”

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Eurotrash,

            1. Five Taliban terrorist leaders released, June 10, 2014

            2. Commander-in-Chief, USA, on June 10 2014: Barack Obama

          • hiernonymous

            Five Taliban leaders were released. Tell me about their terrorist activities

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Moon landing – July 20, 1969

            Commander-in-Chief, President Richard Nixon

          • hiernonymous

            Yes, there are always things that happen in the opening months of a president’s term that he has minimal influence and ownership over. You should have kept reading. If you look a few posts down, you’ll run across the following comment from 3 days past:

            “OBL was killed in May 2011, not May of 2009. Every president builds on what has come before, but the idea that a military operation conducted well into a presidency is somehow not the responsibility of the president conducting it is a bit silly.”

          • Americana

            Who cares how long it took for them to be assured the mission would be undertaken? Crikey, but the reasons it took so long should be clear. It was within close proximity to the Pakistani West Point, Osama bin Laden would obviously have had minders in the ISI or elsewhere w/god knows what capabilities, we needed to wait for as much confirmation intelligence as we could to be sure we had the right man (possibly). What is so hard to understand about how sensitive this mission was considering its location?

            Why do you need to see pictures of Osama bin Laden if you’ve got 25 American SEALs telling you they saw him dead? I’m sure that Pres. Obama is sharing the glory of having been the President at the time of bin Laden’s death w/Pres. Bush. However, the stress of making that executive decision as CIC was Obama’s and Obama’s alone.

          • truebearing

            You are a lightweight flibberdegibbet. It’s hard to take you seriously. At least you aren’t dedicated to falsehood like hiernonymouse.

          • Americana

            You don’t win arguments by trying to sell your audience on your own brilliance while using denigration in the form of slurs against your ideological enemies..

          • truebearing

            That wasn’t an argument. It was a statement of fact. i don’t see anything in that comment that is self-referential, but as deluded as you obviously are, maybe you can.

          • Americana

            My statement about how to win arguments wasn’t in reference to my defense of myself. That was an acknowledgment of a previous instance where YOU, who’s so concerned about “narcissism” he constantly accuses his debate partners of the psychological flaw ,was caught PRAISING HIS OWN WRITING while thus denigrating von Clausewitz’ musings on war and politics. I’d be careful about the allusions to delusion when the proof is so obviously on my side, Mr. I LiKE MINE BETTER.

          • Calvin

            Very stressful leaving the Whitehouse to attend a fund raiser, when Benghazi was burning.

            Very stressful to miss the morning intel briefings.

            Oh, the PAIN!

          • Americana

            DAN PFEIFFER, Obama aide: the president was in the White House that day, kept up to date by his national security team, spoke to the joint chiefs of staff earlier, Secretary of State, and as events unfolded he was kept up to date.

            He’s never out of communication w/those relevant individuals. He’s given the intelligence packets in written form. Having a farce to face only allows for him to ask additional questions as they come up.

          • .

            Freudian slip? Farce to face?
            TW I have heard that excuse before. NEXT!

          • Americana

            I call that editing by the moderators… Who seem to be planting the Fickle Finger of Fate in my posts because they don’t like the content.

          • truebearing

            Can you blame them?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            hiernonymous Daniel Greenfield • 7 hours ago: “One of those exclamation points killed Osama bin Ladin.”
            That was not really so much “defending” our interests as trying to score some apparently critical victory to persuade idiots that he really cares about it.
            Or perhaps the theories are true that he wanted to capture OBL and put him on trial. In either case, it’s really not noteworthy in the context of the conversations about what the ultimate agenda is. Which is to make America weaker. Even you admit that he wants to significantly shrink American hegemony. You simply agree with his strategy because you agree with the (myopic) neo-Marxist explanations about what causes conflict.

          • hiernonymous

            I wouldn’t agree that he’s trying to make America weaker. I would agree that he thinks unilateralism does more harm than good in the long run. There’s a pretty significant school of thought among the structural realists who believe that unipolar power structures call into existence the opposition necessary to re-establish a multipolar world. It doesn’t make sense to break the economy trying to stave off the inevitable. If you don’t buy into structuralism, it still doesn’t make sense to shoulder the world’s security burden while the free riders invest their surplus in their economies and futures. Those are just two of many points of view that suggest your ‘make America weak’ narrative is unduly simplistic.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I wouldn’t agree that he’s trying to make America weaker. I would agree that he thinks unilateralism does more harm than good in the long run.”

            The theory is that America is stronger if your leadership is lower profile or absent and our hegemony shrinks. I don’t that plays out the way that many on the left do.

            In theory if there were specific ways that we were overreaching, of course we need to be “right sized” like any other organization. There are optimum levels of just about any measurable thing. But our influence is only measurable in how well we get along peacefully with other sovereigns and what kind of productive and healthy trade deals we can sustain. Our military hegemony is required for that.

            If you want to change that, it takes more than fond wishes. It takes long term planning, like standing up NATO and making sure all of our strategic partners are trustworthy.

            It’s not that I object to the theory or the goals. I object to the myopia of forgetting the entire picture of pluses and deficits that come with each policy change. And some of them should be pretty obvious.

            But most of all I object to this idea that instead of fighting fake grievances with facts and better, smarter diplomacy, we buy in to mendacious narratives about “neo-colonialism” and one-sided stories from the losers of past wars that are supposedly going to respond to the enhanced self-esteem they achieve once we apologize and shrink our hegemony.

            It’s the insanity of “conflict management” theories without allowing any dissenting views to interrupt the Utopian dreams.

            “There’s a pretty significant school of thought among the structural realists who believe that unipolar power structures call into existence the opposition necessary to re-establish a multipolar world.”

            Yes, a school of thought that has a lot of currency with certain factions who then reject all dissent. You can’t just run the world based on theories without evaluating all of the risks.

            “It doesn’t make sense to break the economy trying to stave off the inevitable.”

            Of course that’s true. The point I’ve made to you several times is that military and cultural hegemony go hand in hand with being able to count on reliable trade partners. Not because we force them, but because we help keep them safe, healthy and prosperous. We all gain from getting it right except for people that want to replace us as global hegemonic power. Or in some cases like China they’d probably settle for getting us out of the Pacific. At least for now.

            Having said that, trade is not direct created or caused by strength. There needs to be balance. But at the moment I see that the entire world would be better off in terms of human development if we would share American values better and smarter rather than apologize for them.

            “If you don’t buy into structuralism, it still doesn’t make sense to shoulder the world’s security burden while the free riders invest their surplus in their economies and futures. Those are just two of many points of view that suggest your ‘make America weak’ narrative is unduly simplistic.”

            Obviously if we simply continue to spend money on military strength for its own sake and to protect weaker nations as the client nations get richer, like Japan, we need to instead make sure we pay attention to their contributions to that defense and to what we get out of the relationship. We need to make sure all of our treaties are balanced in every sense. We can do that (find a balance) without compromising the levels of security that we need.

            No, it’s not simple. But it’s not impossible either. Retreating is not pro-American. Getting smarter is the way forward and by that I mean continuing to leverage technology and smart (synergistic, not Orwellian “smart”) treaties. Not walking off the field.

            Come on man.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Randomly rearranging all the words in your post makes the same sense as your original post.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            H, let’s assume that you are completely correct about Obama, and he truly does not want to make America weak. Then, why is he doing it?

            Do you believe he was right, yesterday, when he said that the world is a much more peaceful place than it was when he took office?

            He might not want to make America weak, but his policies are accomplishing exactly that result. I’m sure that Neville Chamberlain did not want to make the British Empire weak, also, but his policies did.

            With apologies the Mr. Chamberlain, who was a decent gentleman …

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            The US has to depend on Russia, not defunded NASA, to put Americans in space.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            I hear you, and agree. Obama’s NASA policy … just like practically everything else he does … is an atrocity committed against the American people.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            The 5 Taliban savages for one deserter deal was an abomination.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            I’ll let the JAG’s office determine if Bergdahl was a deserter Though I have my own opinion), but the five Taliban should have remained at Guantanamo forever …

          • Charles119

            Unless there are radio intercepts from the Taliban or Haqqani network or some other intel I think proving Bergdahl was a traitor will be hard if not impossible.
            Proving Bergdahl a deserter should not be hard although it could be made hard depending on how much of a kangaroo court there is.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Bergturds fellow soldiers views of him should weigh heavily in his court marshal.

          • Charles 119

            His statements to them, his emails and his diary should weigh heavily.
            But with politically chosen judge and a politically chosen jury such evidence can be suppressed.
            It might be harder to stack a military jury, but it can be done.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            And politically chosen defense attorney, politically chosen articles in the media to defend his desertion and politically chosen defenders of Bergturds fathers Muslim prayer in the Rose Garden.

            Perhaps you’d prefer Bergturd be tried by a jury of his peers in the orange jumpsuits in Gitmo?

          • Charles 119

            Obama and company could skew the jury pool of officers and pick the judge in order for him to not be found guilty of desertion.

            After acquittal they hit the Sunday shows and say they were vindicated all the while they have their thumbs on the scale of justice.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            The Taliban savages haven’t been reformed. The Taliban haven’t surrendered unconditionally to the US.

            Obama has surrendered, unconditionally, to the Taliban.

            And the Bergturd fathers speech in the garden was sickening – and Obama wrapping his arm around the waist of the hot mother must have pissed off Michelle.

            That night must have been a repeat of Hillary/Bill shoutfest when Bill gets a bit too friendly with the ladies.

          • Americana

            I believe the NASA decisions were made in part because we’ve got so much civilian money being poured into the space effort. Yes, I’d personally prefer we hadn’t cut quite so much but we can resume at any point.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            The trouble is, we had a heavy lifter ready to go, by the time Obama took office. We could be using it for our space efforts, including the ISS.

            However, Obama killed the program. Why? The rocket could also be used to carry nukes, and … of course … a peaceful man like he didn’t want to pose a threat to anyone. [/sarcasm]

            The money is going into space tourism and exploration precisely because of the near death-blow dealt to NASA, by the Obama Administration.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Yes, I’d personally prefer we hadn’t cut quite so much but we can resume at any point.”

            Assuming we get permission from leadership.

          • hiernonymous

            I suspect he is trying to move from a “Pax Americana” model to a UN-based model.

            Do I believe the world is a more peaceful place than it was when he took office? No, I think it’s probably about the same.

            I think that the U.S. piece of that violence is considerably smaller. As was noted at the USMA graduation, this is the first class of graduates in over a decade that does not expect to leave OBC for combat.

            Is the U.S. less secure than when Obama took office? I don’t think so. You say that he has made us “weaker,” but it’s hard to see how, in any objective sense. For example, there’s a lot of bold talk about what we should have done in the Ukraine, but our relationship with Georgia was much closer, politically and militarily, and the previous administration did exactly what Obama did – nothing. And that was the right call.

            There’s no turning back the clock, but the U.S. squandered an opportunity to change the international order and make itself more secure in the 2001-2003 timeframe. Instead, by lashing out blindly and alienating our allies in the process, we managed to take a world that was sympathetic to the U.S. and prepared to cooperate with it, and inspire world-wide backlash against our unilateralism. I think that Obama is trying to undo some of that damage.

            “With apologies to Mr. Chamberlain, who was a decent gentleman …”

            That sort of gratuitous cheap shot is probably why I’m seen here as an Obama partisan, when in fact I’m not. I disagree with many of his decisions and policies. But the rabid and unreasonable tone of the conversations, that can’t seem to leave off with simply noting disagreement with policy, and find it necessary to question the patriotism, honesty, character, religion, and even sexuality of those with whom one has political disagreements seems to me something that must be confronted. I hadn’t pegged you for one of those.

          • Randy

            “I suspect he is trying to move from a “Pax Americana” model to a UN-based model.”
            I can live that if the UN is as good or better than the U.S. So far I am not seeing it.

            “Do I believe the world is a more peaceful place than it was when he took office? No, I think it’s probably about the same.”
            Alrighty then. I believe that is a testable statement. There are fewer place I think a person can safely visit in the world.

          • hiernonymous

            I think there are fewer places it is safe to go compared to 1999; I don’t see much deterioration since 2008. The Middle East as a whole became much more dangerous for Americans with the Iraq invasion. I’d have visited Egypt up to the Sisi coup, though the Sinai started going south well before. Syria is much worse; I think the jury is still out on Libya. Iraq, even today, isn’t as bad as it was in ’05-’07, but it looks to be on the way. In Europe, I’d now avoid the Ukraine, but former Yugoslavia is much better, so that’s something of a wash. Colombia is better, as is Peru, which are offset by the degeneration of Central America into gang violence. It’s been many a moon since I’d have gone to Venezuela. I think Brazil is going to have trouble after the World Cup, but that’s not new, and unless you were planning on touring the favelas, won’t impact your travel plans. The communist insurgencies in most of Eastern Asia have dried up, East Timor and Sri Lanka are both much better than they were, and Myanmar is also improved. Thailand is in chaos now, but that’s internal. India actually appears to finally be confronting long-standing problems, so that’s a seventh of humanity that is on the upswing. Africa has gone up and down. The Sudan was much better, but the south is now descending into a civil war that can no longer be attributed to Muslim influence. The fault line states of the Sahel are pretty much the same, which isn’t good. That’s hardly comprehensive, but, no I don’t think an objective look at the world shows it to gave deteriorated on the whole since ’08.

          • Randy

            Wouldn’t an UN-based model be a unipolar world and call into existence opposition?

          • hiernonymous

            I’d say there’s some truth to that.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            H, I look at the world, today, and the same world in December, 2012, and the violence and threats of violence, in the world, have increased exponentially. The “Arab Spring”, precipitated by the apology tour, followed by an explosion of violence in the Middle East, unilateral cuts announced in nuclear weapons and many conventional weapons, his decision that America no longer needed a dedicated air superiority fighter, his casual disregard for increasing levels of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea … need I go on?

            No, I don’t like Obama. Yes, I think he is a weak leader … sometimes, not a leader, at all. But if I thought his policies had stabilized the world, or made it better, I would give him credit for it. Conventional war is breaking out all over the world, and the nuclear clock is getting closer to midnight.

            Obama owns it …

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I suspect he is trying to move from a “Pax Americana” model to a UN-based model.”

            In theory, that’s wonderful and progressive. In reality, most of us here consider that “progressive” and treasonous. Beyond the purview of POTUS to actually shift sovereignty outside of the USA.

            If it was simply a matter of being more careful about building consensus through the UN, that would be a good thing. I think it’s about shifting sovereignty. I regard that as treason. The UN is comprised of virtually every state in the world, including our enemies. And the most dangerous coalition within the UN is an enemy that would like to rule the UN (not to mention Russia and China) and therefore we’re shifting sovereignty to our enemies.

          • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

            The hard work, of course, was done during the Bush administration. All Obama had to do was give the attack the green light – the right call, yes, but hardly a difficult one. Bush’s surge in Iraq – which brought it under control – took a lot more guts.

          • Drakken

            Obummer had to be taking kicking and screaming to act against Bin Laden, your faith in Obummer and company is highly misplaced and foolish.

          • Americana

            Don’t be ridiculous, Drakken. If Pres. Obama had wanted to deep six the mission instead of deep sixing bin Laden, there were a myriad of ways for him to do so with no one being the wiser as to ulterior motives. (DELETED)

          • Drakken

            Ole Val Jarret nixed plans to take out Bin Laden until Panetta put his foot down and bypassed Jarret and made Obummer act.

          • Americana

            I can’t ask you to source that since you’re **BUSY** so I’ll go off and do some research. I don’t remember her being an obstructionist.

          • Drakken

            While your at it, ask yourself why ole Val met with the Iranians 9 times in Iran, Kuwait and the UAE?

          • truebearing

            Leave it to someone as delusional as yourself to believe in the power of punctuation to kill terrorists. No wonder the Left is so incompetent.
            Obama didn’t order the kill on Bin Laden. History will correct that lie.

          • hiernonymous

            “Obama didn’t order the kill on Bin Laden. History will correct that lie.”

            Can you support this, or is this another of your feelings?

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Osama died of a #brokenheart – administered by the Navy Seals.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            According to people who were there, Obama was dragged kicking and screaming to the “kill Osama” bandwagon, and had to be forced to pick up the baton.

            If it had been to this man, Osama bin Laden would still be alive.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/Obama_and_Biden_await_updates_on_bin_Laden.jpg

            Obama is the President, yet his body language, compared to everyone else, is that of a frightened madrassa school boy.

          • Americana

            WHAT? Now this I’ve gotta hear. What is your interpretation of his body language and that of others in the above picture? Why does he look like a frightened madrassa schoolboy in this photo?

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Look at Obamas body language and compare it to the body language of the other men in the photo.

            Tell us how Obama appears – as a Commander in Chief – or a frightened Madrassa school boy – or something else.

          • Americana

            How he appears? Well, if you LOOK at the photo, it’s obvious Pres. Obama is leaning forward to get around the obstruction of VP Joe Biden’s body. Obama may have been deferential and offered Joe the ringside seat or perhaps he sat next to the technical guy handling the video of the operation for a reason, but, to me, it’s very clear his sightline isn’t good where he is so he’s leaning forward for a clearer view. No one would be frightened by what appears on those night vision screens. They’ve very disembodying. They seem very unreal.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Obama is the slightest person there. On the periphery, scrunched down, frightened look on his face – not Commander in Chief at all.

          • Americana

            Unbelievable. But then, consider this a sales pitch.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Do you need new eyeglasses?

          • M

            It is hard to tell from one snapshot.
            But this does not look any different than the Putin/OBama snapshots, where there were several over time and showed him to be a chump.
            I am upset that Obama is not in the center chair, where the officer is sitting. If Obama attended meetings often, took an interest in them and gave a s___, the seat would have been vacated for him the moment he stepped in the room. No one’s feelings would be hurt. It would just be his due.
            But all concerned know that he is not interested. This is just stuff getting in the way of what he really wants to do.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Does Obama look like a leader, the Command in Chief – or a frightened little boy?

            Study the photo carefully – looking at all the faces.

          • Americana

            See my answer below. No, he does not appear to be some little schoolboy. Sheeeeeeeshusssss.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            No? Obama, the smallest figure in the photo. Frightened look on his face – the ONLY ONE with a frightened look on his face – hunched over – diminutive – sitting down.

            Try to be honest.

          • Americana

            Simply unwackobelievable.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            “Simply unwackobelievable.”

            An honest appraisal of most of your posts.

          • Seth

            Jeeeeeeeeehusssss as you say will judge Obama at the end of time or as it happened.

            If you understood space/time (physics) or had a grasp of philosophy would know this and know there is no contradiction. A rabbi or priest could have told you, if you had bothered to ask.

            You can’t hide “nuthing”*.

          • Americana

            Oh, yeah, right cue the rabbis and the priests! It’s time in this thread to bring on the real big dogs. Oh, and don’t forget the necromancers.

          • .

            You are the one that brought Sheeeeeeeshusssss into this conversation as an indicator of exasperation or that your debate opponent was stupid (in your opinion).

          • .

            But honestly you should discover that pitfalls in the concept of predestination, see where they were wrong and see why they might have got to that conclusion and see how to reconcile it all.

            But whatever. Back to trolling for you. much more fun in your opinion than theology, philosophy or physics.

          • Americana

            Yes, by all means, elevate yourself through your two-bit introduction of theology, philosophy and physics in your post. No matter how short the post or how the theology embraces the post, a little theology makes any old post a whole lot better. How did I miss the philosophy and physics lecture in your post? Oh, you mean simply by including those words in your post it automatically elevates the post to haute hints of FP? I’ll have to remember that tip.

          • Americana

            Now this is indicative of the stupidity I’m talking about. Who are you to tell the military how they’re to run their operations? NO, that seat shouldn’t NECESSARILY HAVE BEEN VACATED for Pres. Obama to take center stage. That military guy is there to do one thing and one thing only supremely well, to keep the SEAL team in VISUAL and VERBAL contact w/the White House. He’s the PRIMO GUY in that scenario because he’s doing that. The President had ALREADY DONE HIS BIT by agreeing to the raid.

            I find it hysterically funny you can call him KING OBAMA in another post and then when he doesn’t pull the KING SH*T of which you relentlessly accuse him in a situation like this, where he’s obviously not the main event, he gets blasted for that as well.

          • .

            He is King Obama in one realm and King of SH*T in another.

            He roars like a lion on the domestic stage and like a mouse on the international stage.

            No contradiction.

            NEXT.

          • Americana

            Utter BS. I’m not surprised at all though at the timing of your entries.

          • .

            The Syrian redline was not Obama’s redline but the world’ redline?

            That is the King of something on the international stage?

            Let’s examine the Obma’s world redline remark. There are almost 200 countries in the world. Did he take a poll? Did major players like Iran, China, Russia agree with Monsieur Obama’s statement that it was a world red line?

            Did the world in terms of population, number of voting member of the UN or some other measure agree with Monsieur Obama?

          • Americana

            Oh, yes, make way for El Presidente!!! Make WAY, you minor minions!!!

            That military guy is serving a MILITARY purpose. He’s RUNNING THE SHOW tecnhically w/his fingers running the comms to the SEAL team. No, sorry, I disagree — the guys who run the show in real time don’t “make way” for the big dogs who run the show outside the situation rooms. That’s LUNACY to propose that.

          • Americana

            Sorry but the military guy would be at Obama’s right or left side seated next to Obama a with Obama in the big seat.

            The military guy could still do his job and do it even better.

            The electronics and software does not work better depending on which seat the officer sits in. In an organization it does matter what seat the boss sits in.
            TY for playing

          • Americana

            Obviously, that’s NOT HOW THINGS ARE DONE in the situation rooms or they would be sitting in those positions you are implying are mandatory. You don’t get to superimpose YOUR THINKING on how things are done in the real world just because you’ve got an agenda.

          • Americana

            CUTE YOU OLD moderators, YOU! This Americana isn’t me especially if you tweak to the fact they’re flipping their opinion for mine. Guess I’ll have to copy and paste this bait and switch to every post where you snapshots are pulling this stunt? Or do you think folks will recognize who’s the real Americana and who isn’t?

          • hiernonymous

            How much time have you spent around Madrassa schoolboys, anyway?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Probably less than Obama.

          • hiernonymous

            You know this about “SCREW SOCIALISM?” Are you digging into his life, too?

          • Americana

            How does one compare body language of SEATED vs STANDING individuals? And what significance does one draw from that poor little petite woman at the back who’s standing on her tippytoes to get a glimpse at the screen? Now that’s not very gentlemanly, to keep her out of the primo viewing spots if she’s the CIA intelligence agent who tracked Osama bin Laden to the Abbottabad compound. That’s where my body language analysis would be directed — at why she was excluded from a BETTER seat if she’s the woman who really accomplished this. ****Shame on all those tall drinks of water hogging the good seats!!****

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            Shoulders hunched, bent over in a defensive posture …

            This picture, which I’ve seen before, says it all.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Again, compare Obamas body language to that of the others.

          • Jerry

            It is everything considered. Past incidents, body language, cathedras and position, …
            This picture screams chump.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            You callin’ Obama a chump?

            Racist.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Jerry, I replied to what originally appeared as an Americana post to Americana.

            After a Refresh of the page and reloading of all comments I see the post is from “Jerry”.

            Sorry about the confusion.

          • hiernonymous

            Why would your response to the same words change when you discovered it was a friend posting it? Seems a bit shady.

          • Jerry

            I would call Biden, Clinton or any white guy who made the same decision based on fear, cowardice or stupidity chump.

            I am EO.

            chump 1 (ch mp) n. A stupid or foolish person

            thefreedictionary.com/

          • RealAmericana

            Yes, I’d be TERRIFIED just like a little MADRASSA SCHOOLKID if I were sitting in the basement of the White House in a situation room w/15 other people watching a raid via video monitor. Just what about that is a terrifying situation? It doesn’t even make sense to propose it. Basement of White House — SAFE ZONE. (Unless a 757 is dive-bombing into it.) What should the President now sport a “NO FEAR” t-shirt at all times so you folks know he’s up for sitting in the basement watching a video stream of a raid? At least, no one seems to be eating popcorn.

          • Jerry

            Who said anything about Obama being scared? He is bright enough to know he has no skin in the game.
            I called him a chump as in loser. He looks like a chump in the picture.
            You are the one, who brought up fear.

          • RealAmericana

            Really, I’m the one who brought it up. Here’s Screw S:

            SCREW SOCIALISM Jerry • 6 hours ago

            Not just his stance, click on the picture, and click again for the magnified view – and look at Obamas face – and compare his expression to the others.

            Frightened.

          • Americana

            90% of the others are standing. Of course they’re going to appear taller than the President who is sitting.

          • Jerry

            His stance should be wide standing or sitting. Not all the time of course.
            If this is the only snapshot we had, we could prove little. You have to wonder beta male when you see this picture.
            When the CO comes into the room, the XO gets out of his seat. He was just the tenant in lieu of the boss doing what needed to be done. His feelings are not hurt. It is all good. His time is going to come.
            Obama the CINC walked into the room and who moved?
            NOBODY?
            Does that scare people? It scares me.
            Heirnonymous will have an explanation.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Not just his stance, click on the picture, and click again for the magnified view – and look at Obamas face – and compare his expression to the others.

            Frightened.

          • Americana

            Try that other ‘F’ word — FASCINATED. Those videos are like watching video games. except they’re the real thing.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Fascinated? LOL!

            How would you characterize the looks on the faces of the others in the photo?

          • Americana

            I’m pretty sure this is one of the kill shots based on what Sec./State Clinton is doing. She’s the only one, to me, who looks horrified at all. Everyone else seems to simply be there in the moment and realizing they’re seeing history played out in front of them. This isn’t how D-Day achievements were transmitted back to the White House in real time but I bet the faces are identical once Pres. Roosevelt saw the D-Day photographs.

          • Americana

            Wide standing stance when he’s SITTING? In that case, he’s meeting your criteria w/his legs being spread. As for a wide stance being the be-all and end-all stance of power, didn’t Sen. Larry Craig try to sell that whole BS about a wide stance in his toilet solicitation incident in the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport?

            What you’re selling is propagandistic lunacy. That military guy would never move out of that seat. It would infringe on him doing his job. And no CO walks into a war footing BRIDGE of a ship or a submarine and boots the XO off whatever piece of equipment he’s manning. WHY? Because that’s not how THINGS ARE DONE.

          • Americana

            Pres. Obama had reason to be concerned about what would happen w/Pakistan as fallout or payback for undertaking this operation. Obama was right to demand as much confirmation as he could get that we were actually going after bin Laden rather than someone of lesser status. What is the situation had become a Blackhawk Down situation over some mid-level al Qaeda flunky? What would everyone be saying then if we’d lost all of those SEALs and had provoked the Pakistanis into doing something?

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Shouldn’t Pakistan be concerned about the fallout or payback for being a safe haven for Osama bin Laden?

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            It’s the same rationale used by Madeleine Albright, in the 1990′s, for not using proper force against bin Laden, when Clinton’s National Security team knew his exact location. Note that this was before 9/11.

            In the location he was “safely” in … Attabad, Pakistan, next to a Pak military base … it was absolutely impossible to know he was there until the SEALs blew him away.

            “What if …” scenarios lead to paralysis, and the military is designed to move, hit, and leave. Fear of consequences is one of the chief reasons Obama has made America weak …

          • Americana

            Yes, we should be concerned about putting one over Pakistan because they might return the favor and put one over on us.

            Wait, they already were and we knew it.

            World leaders of bad moral character are supposed to draw what conclusion of a nation that lets other nations knowingly and unknowingly put things over it?

          • Americana

            Nations such as Pakistan are the reason we have PRISM and the other new intelligence surveillance infrastructure.

          • .

            Yes and all messages are sent electronically.

            As a thinking man who believes in science you know that to be the 8th law of thermodynamics

          • Americana

            Obviously not all messages are sent electronically since the CIA caught Osama bin Laden by recognizing his courier. The 8th law of thermodynamics says I’m owed a cup of tea after all you baloney.

          • .

            So you admit that non-electronic means of sending message are used such as couriers.

            So you further admit that PRISM (elint) cannot do everything?

            So you further admit that we can use PRISM all do long and people can still put one over on us?

            Do you admit that we should give a sh*t about people who are abusing us like Pakistan?

            If we don’t give sh*t about hurting Pakistan’s feelings, then why is Obama being concerned about Pakistan over the OBL raid such a hard decision.

            When you have that much power you do not beat around the bush. You simply conduct the raid and point of fact state you f*cked us, demand an apology at the least and maybe demand more.

            Otherwise you are a loser.

          • Americana

            You don’t have a clue what went on at the diplomatic level between Pakistan and the U.S. as fallout from the OBL mission. It’s NOT a matter of hurting the feelings of the Pakistanis, it’s making sure we take the correct action to counter the Pakistanis who are selling us out. As for this of yours below, that’s how the Osama bin Laden raid into Pakistan was conducted.

            (YOU .) “When you have that much power you do not beat around the bush. You simply conduct the raid and point of fact state you f*cked us, demand an apology at the least and maybe demand more.”

          • .

            I do have a clue.

            Pakistan is playing a double game. The ISI created the Taliban. If the Taliban was not a puppet government ( I am not saying it was), the Pakistanis wanted to have a lot of influence over it.

            When the bombs started falling after 911 and the Northern alliance was advancing, they surrounded a town filled with Taliban, foreign fighters and others and the Pakistani PM begged Bush to allow Pakistan to fly out people from that city. that is their ISI agents & others.

            Add to the fact that it is popular to make private agreements with the U.S. but publicly demonize the U.S.

            So given these 3 items, I don’t give a flying F__k what Pakistanis politicians think. Cringing about what they might think invites further abuse.

            Do you like being abused or are you the abuser?

          • Americana

            The Osama bin Laden raid dished out a very cold measure of revenge that rang out all around the Muslim world. The Pakistani politicians and Pakistani Armed Forces are in the unenviable position of being the government of a country that is overrun w/militants of every stripe. How many ISI agents were involved in the ISI plot to hide bin Laden? Who knows if we’ll ever know. I hope we discover something via PRISM that will really seal the deal so we know just how to handle Pakistani and certain Pakistanis from here on out. It’s not a matter of cringing, it’s amateur of getting the punishment exactly measured out.

          • .

            Zerohedge had a map of areas under Muslim militant control.

            Those militants do not seem impressed with the “very cold measure of revenge”. Starting in the 1990s there seem to be fewer and fewer safe places to visit! There was Bosnia. Now it is north Africa such as Mali and East Africa. the Phillipines seem iffy to. The militants do not seemed impressed with Obama or you. Can’t blame them. I am not impressed with you.

            “I hope we discover something via PRISM that will really seal the deal so we know just how to handle Pakistani and certain Pakistanis from here on out.”

            Did the hope of using PRISM give you the courage to stop your knees from shaking and allow you to write the post? did it give you hope for the future?

          • Americana

            . <<<<<< (As someone interested in typography, I've gotta say the whole minimalist thing is really cute.)

            Considering those are HEAVILY MUSLIM areas to begin with and that they have been HISTORICALLY Muslim, no I'm not surprised what areas/nations they are attempting to take over.

          • .

            83% of Kenya is Christian so the Muslims feel the need to take over?

            50% of Nigeria is Muslim so they feel the need to take over?

            Mali is Muslim but the radicals think it needs to be supper Muslims?

            Paying the oppressed minority / oppressed majority card kind of hard are you?

          • Americana

            Parts of those countries are majority Muslim and they’re not necessarily attempting to take over the entire country. In some cases they are, in some cases they aren’t.

            I’m not playing the oppressed minority card at all. I’m simply pointing out the historical demographics that have them choosing to separate in the belief they’ll automatically be granted a better life under sharia and Islam.

          • Americana

            Last sentence should read, “It’s not a matter of cringing, it’s a MATTER of getting the punishment exactly measured out.”

          • Drakken

            That is the problem right there, a real American would drink coffee.

          • Americana

            I drink everything, including bourbon and Southern Comfort and weird beers from a friend’s craft brewery. (My own beer productions still suck big time.)

          • Drakken

            Well there is hope for you after all, a bourbon drinker, who woulda thunk it!

          • Americana

            We have a great little distillery in my town that makes vodka. He’s got one dill aquavit that’s absolutely incredible over shaved ice and a marvelous horseradish vodka that’s great in those tomato thingamabobs… A girlfriend who came for the regional Search & Rescue seminar where we do the annual certification of the dogs that are ready for SAR/FEMA deployment brought a caraway pumpernickel beer that delicious!

          • RealAmericana

            What, now you’re going to claim that we don’t have CIA and Pakistani humint assists to perform traditional human intelligence work? The fact is that PRISM is capable of collating all sorts of things that weren’t connected in a data stream before. It’s not SIMPLY that it records PHONE conversations. Didn’t you realize how much this system does?

          • .

            Certainly, humint has been deprecated.

            Certainly at the same time we have been relying more and more on elint and things have not gotten easier.

            I am not the 1st to make the charge.

          • hiernonymous

            ELINT is primarily used for targeting and SEAD. Are you sure you didn’t mean something else?

          • Americana

            Well, that’s certainly interesting. A moderator that has me talking to myself or a site that has allowed two different people to register as “Americana.” Guess we’re in for a bump ride…

          • Americana

            Figure it out. It has nothing to do with the site or the commenting software. I saw a second person comment as Americana so I joined in.
            It serves a purpose.

          • Americana

            Yes, it certainly does serve a purpose. I don’t have to figure out anything.

            CUTE YOU OLD moderators, YOU! This Americana isn’t me especially if you tweak to the fact they’re flipping their opinion for mine. Guess I’ll have to copy and paste this bait and switch to every post where you snapshots are pulling this stunt? Or do you think folks will recognize who’s the real Americana and who isn’t?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            it’s not a mod issue. See reply above

          • Americana

            The false Americana troll might not be a moderator-generated, but if you continue to allow it, without public slap downs and WITHOUT REMOVING THOS FALSE AMERICANA posts, then it does reflect on the moderation. Just a minor quibble.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            I don’t control comments. As I’ve said many times.

          • Americana

            Ah, so that’s your personal choice — to not moderate comments? But **OTHER** FPM writers do choose to control the comments on their articles. Just a suggestion, but this ‘This Writer Does/Does Not Moderate Comments’ should appear as a flag above each writer’s comments section for each article if that’s their personal choice. Then there’s no doubt who’s willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous speech and who isn’t.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            No I physically don’t control comments. As in I don’t have that level of access.

            If I did, there would be a lot less spam and National Socialist trolling on The Point’s posts. (Note that I have to write it out that way because my previous comment got flagged.)

            My own comments are flagged sometimes. There’s nothing I can do about it.

          • hiernonymous

            “National Socialist trolling”

            I don’t see all the posts, but I thought I’d have noticed that sort of thing. What sort of “National Socialist trolling” do you encounter here?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            You’re participation is as a guest. As a courtesy guests are allowed to add their name on the honor system but the users see the name in gray indicated that it’s not verified (iow, honor system).

            You have zero claims on a name you have not registered.

          • hiernonymous

            But not an honest one.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            You haven’t registered an account with Disqus under that name. If you do, it will be exclusively yours.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Why don’t we let Obama explain it. No he wasn’t out to kill Bin Laden. He was out to dismantle Gitmo.

            Obama saw an opportunity to resurrect the idea of a criminal trial, which Attorney General Eric Holder had planned for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

            This time, the president tells Bowden, he was prepared to bring bin Laden back and put him on trial in a federal court. “We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III.” Obama continues:

            “I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.”

          • hiernonymous

            Let’s see if I understand your logic clearly. The president sent a team out to capture or kill bin Ladin. The fact that he had actually thought about what he would do with OBL if he got him alive is proof, in your mind, that he didn’t really want to get OBL at all?

            Do you have any idea how poisoned by partisanship your thinking has become?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            He sent the team out motivated by the idea of using Bin Laden to shut down Gitmo.

            If you are unable to process his own words, you’re suffering from partisanship poisoning.

          • hiernonymous

            The quote you offered demonstrated his thinking concerning the best way to avoid having OBL become a martyr in the event of capture. Nothing about the president’s words suggests that his interest in taking OBL was in closing Guantanamo.

            1. “We worked through the legal and political issues…” Nothing about intent there.
            2. “…if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapons against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr. The only intent presented there was the intent to hurt al Qa’ida and prevent OBL from becoming a martyr.

            Nothing about either part of his statement suggests that he wasn’t interested in taking down OBL, or that any particular domestic policy was the overriding motive for doing so.

        • truebearing

          Yes, the Charge of the Hashtag Brigade will go down in history as one of the most brutal and relentless ever. :)

        • Webb

          Too bad Cliton didn’t wield the amazing power of the #, he could’ve killed bad Laddy with it and there never even would’ve been a 9/11. And Hilarity could’ve vanquished the #VastRightWingConspiracy before they got Bill’s DNA planted on the blue dress and messed up everything.

      • kasandra

        Truebearing is right. Obama’s opposition to Russian aggression was rhetorical only. Well, that and the socks he gave to the Ukrainians. and its delusional to say he has forcefully defended U.S. interests unless you conclude that it is in the U.S. interest to have an eviscerated military, the Muslim Brotherhood in power across the Mid East, al Qaeda and its affiliates on the rise across North Africa and the Levant and the Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos and most of the rest of Asia quaking in their boots over the loss of U.S. power and influence in the Pacific. Is he also advancing U.S. interests by stabbing traditional U.S. allies in the back at every turn? If you think he’s advancing U.S. interests you must have a much different view of what those interests are than do I.

        • hiernonymous

          Let’s look at Russia, shall we? The U.S has a pretty weak hand vis-a-vis Ukraine, in that it is not a member of NATO, it is on Russia’s borders and is critical to Russian national interests in a way that it is not to ours, and the U.S. has nearly no meaningful economic leverage.

          So when confronted with Putin’s coup de main, the U.S. could have responded with an immediate show of force. This would have accomplished nothing. We’re not going to risk Armageddon over the Crimea, no matter who is president, and the Russians know that. A show of force would have been laughable.

          Economic sanctions? We don’t have the leverage. The deals Putin sealed in Beijing recently were intended to underscore that. So what meaningful response can Obama make?

          Turns out that his only real shot of containing Russia in Europe is to get European buy-in, and that is a tough sell. Russia is integral to an awful lot of the European economy. For all that, he’s making progress. G8 is now G7, and you’d better believe that has Putin’s attention. Long term, Russia needs help diversifying its economy out of the energy sector, and Obama’s approach may nit be immediately gratifying, but plays on that long-term need.

          Just out of curiosity, what bold approach do you think would have both Crimea still in Ukrainian hands and Moscow and D.C. still unslagged?

          As for a supposedly eviscerated military, how many tanks did the USSR have when it collapsed? Having goaded our Cold War enemies into unsustainable military spending, do you really think it in our best interests to follow suit?

          • Blurt

            You always have a weak hand if you can’t play your cards and can’t bluff convincingly.
            We had no economic leverage with the USSR and we tried to keep China out of the communist camp in 1948. China was not part of NATO (nonexistent at that point) or any other treaty organization. True we committed no ground forces. Demobilization and a war weary populace will have that effect.
            Does one nation have to be on another nation’s border to be critical to it?
            If nation is critical to Russia is it noncritical to other nations?
            I cannot remember when partitioning a country, when making it into a rump state, ever brought world peace or went well. It just sets up the next war. Maybe you can tell me differently.
            Russia has an economic deal with China and China cannot be threatened? It can. You just have to play chicken and I think your T levels have fallen since your days as a pleb. There is a reason why the Y chromosome has 50 to 60 genes and the X chromosome has 800 to 900. We’re talking about a whole order of magnitude. There must be something to it beside brawn and being able to slug it put toe to toe.
            Giving up Ukraine is like giving up Czechoslovakia, you just do not give that much land, resources and industrial potential.
            I believe that Crimea should be Russian. How it becomes Russian matters greatly. It became Russian the wrong way and we will pay for this sin.

          • hiernonymous

            “We had no economic leverage with the USSR and we tried to keep China out of the communist camp in 1948. China was not part of NATO (nonexistent at that point) or any other treaty organization. ”

            How’d that turn out again?

            “Does one nation have to be on another nation’s border to be critical to it?”

            No, but proximity plays a pretty significant role. The Ukraine hosts a big part of the Russian fleet, it’s integral to its economy, and it shares a long land border. Those things make it vital to Russian interests. By means of comparison, think about the Cuban missile crisis. 90 miles from Florida, Cuba was a nice foreign policy bonus to Moscow, but absolutely critical to the U.S. In the end, the Soviets pulled the missiles out of Cuba because it was more important to the U.S. than it was to the Soviets. (Of course, that’s oversimplifying, and we haven’t discussed the Jupiters in Turkey, but this isn’t a dissertation.)

            “Giving up Ukraine is like giving up Czechoslovakia…”

            Except that France and Britain had previously guaranteed Czech security; we had no such relationship with the Ukraine. For that matter, the Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union during our years of confrontation, so it’s kind of hard to argue that critical U.S. interests would be compromised if the Ukraine were under Moscow’s control.

            “I believe that Crimea should be Russian. How it becomes Russian matters greatly. It became Russian the wrong way…”

            I agree. There’s a strong argument that the Crimea should be Russian, but the accord in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons included a prohibition against just this sort of action. This incident just highlighted why other countries want nuclear weapons. It’s not to initiate Armageddon; it’s to maintain their territorial integrity against the Great Powers.

          • Blurt

            “How’d that turn out again?”

            Are you a comedian? I am sure there is an establishment, where you can do stand up or improve in the bay area.

            We both know how it turned out, which doesn’t mean it should have turned out that way. As the fictional Jimmy Malone said “What are you prepared to do?”. Apparently, we are not prepared to do much. If people knew the stakes they might have been prepared to do more instead of being weary. But it takes education by policy makers or self-education. A lot of wars they say are started because of miscalculation. They are also started when leaders see other leaders who have no stomach for it. Just being prepared and willing to mix it up stops much aggression. Germany wanted Switzerland in the late 1930s. They did not want to pay the price. The Swiss were willing to mix it up. We did not mix it up in 19549 and we paid in 1950, we paid in 1965, and we are still paying.

            “Except that France and Britain had previously guaranteed Czech security; we had no such relationship with the Ukraine. For that matter, the Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union during our years of confrontation, so it’s kind of hard to argue that critical U.S. interests would be compromised if the Ukraine were under Moscow’s control.”

            WTF did you even go there? Did you think it could not be looked up?

            “The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”

            The Budapest Memorandums
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Ukraine
            The existing borders of Ukraine should have been changed. It should have been done by plebiscite. I would rather have a plebiscite than a war. I hate wars but they must be fought at times. People should not try to run away from them..

          • hiernonymous

            Google can find you the document, but it can’t understand it for you. Read the protocol carefully. The signatories obligate themselves to respect Ukraine’s integrity and to refrain from specific actions, not to collective enforcement of the protocols. Read it carefully, and you will see that there are two obligations imposed on us: to consult the security council in the event of the use of nuclear weapons, and to consult with the other countries in the event the protocols are violated.

            How in the world did you read that as anything remotely similar to a mutual defense obligation a la Czechoslovakia?

          • Blurt

            I’ll go with the Layman’s version not the lawyer’s version. The former is good enough in a might makes right world, which is pretty much the world we live in. The south & east china seas seem to be that way.
            But I’ll read the rest of it. I skimmed it.
            If it is a consult the security council type of deal, it was worthless. That is it was without teeth, without consequence. No wonder the Russians signed it. There was no downside for them. Big surprise that the skirt chaser signed it.

          • hiernonymous

            I don’t actually disagree with you that Ukraine got a raw deal, that the precedent set by abrogating the agreement is a bad one, or that Ukraine should probably have insisted on a treaty with more teeth. But that’s not what we were talking about, and the U.S. was unlikely to sign any deal that obligated them to military operations against Russia.

            That’s what NATO is for, and the expansion of NATO into former Warsaw Pact states is already a very controversial issue. Russia sees it as an aggressive move designed to threaten her. The decision to extend that sort of protection to Ukraine is really a decision about expanding NATO, and unless or until Ukraine joins NATO, it would be silly for us to behave as if we had those sorts of obligations to her.

            As for why we signed it, I think you need to consider what it was really all about. The Soviet Union had collapsed, and many of its former SSR’s were in a state of political chaos, economic collapse, and had nuclear arsenals. Our overriding goal was to get the nuclear weapons back under control, and that generally meant back into Russian hands.

            To me, one of the most significant pieces of fallout from the Ukraine situation isn’t any nonsense about how manly Putin is vs Obama, or how seriously the U.S. will be taken as an ally (as the Ukraine was NOT an ally), but how desperate smaller states will be to get nuclear weapons. This plays into a comment attributed to the Indian MoD in the wake of DESERT STORM. I can’t recall the exact quotation, but when asked what the lesson of DS/DS was, he responded to the effect “never challenge the U.S. if you don’t have nuclear weapons at your disposal.” The real lesson of the Ukraine, on longer reflection, will be that Kiev made a mistake in giving up its arsenal. That’s a shame, because in the past decades, several states had actually voluntarily surrendered such weapons as not being worth the expense and risks involved. I think that trend will reverse now.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I’ll go with the Layman’s version not the lawyer’s version. The former is good enough in a might makes right world, which is pretty much the world we live in. The south & east china seas seem to be that way.”

            Very good point.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Just being prepared and willing to mix it up stops much aggression.”

            Right. It’s this fallacious thinking that comes from only focusing on the seen and not the unseen.

          • kasandra

            How about giving the Ukrainians the weapons and body armor they asked for or the intelligence product they requested. Was Obama’s refusal of that help your idea of “opposing Russian aggression”? My “bold approach” would have been to give such aid. You know, you seem to have picked up a virus from Mr. Obama. It’s the “straw man” virus. The choice wasn’t between doing virtually nothing (the Obama approach) and thermonuclear war and its not between building no new main battle tanks (the Obama approach) and building 12,000 a year (the Soviet approach). There are reasonable approaches to these issues. Unfortunately, they are not
            the one’s being taken by the US administration.

          • Fenster

            A few months to several months ago he posted that he basically agreed decision so far vis-a-vis foreign policy.
            So go figure.

          • hiernonymous

            So you’re suggesting that providing body armor and weapons and intelligence would have shifted the balance of power in the Ukraine such that they could have held on to the Crimea?

          • kasandra

            Don’t know. It wasn’t tried. It would have changed the calclus. But beyond the Crimea it certainly would have changed the situation on the ground in Eastern Ukraine where, today, the Russians began arming their proxies with T-64 MBTs and truck mounted “Grail” (Hail) MLRS systems. You see, outside of DC such thing actually matter.

          • hiernonymous

            Well, wait. You’re suggesting that we could have rushed them weapons systems to counter MBTs and, well, whatever this other system is? I’m a bit confused because when I learned Soviet OB, a “Grail” was a manpad, not an artillery system, but maybe I’m not current. At any rate, equipping a military with heavy weapons involves a great deal of logistical and training overhead. Certainly nothing that was going to happen in time to affect any current events, but possibly in time to provoke the Russians into acting before the systems could change the balance of power. Sorry, not a tenable COA.

          • .

            A current soviet MLRS would be the “Smerch” not the SA-7 “Grail”. It looks scarier than a Katyusha. The throw weight is horrendous.
            Not sure what kasandra is thinking about. They were probably thinking about a portable or crew served anti-tank weapon.

          • hiernonymous

            On reflection, it’s possible that they have done something with the manpads a bit like we did with our own Stingers. After our embarrassing failure to make a working version of the Sergeant York, we tried to fill the SHORAD gap with a vehicle-mounted array of Stingers. Though I’m not sure why Russians would do that – unlike us, they have some first-rate purpose-built SHORAD systems that would be better fits.

            Thanks for mentioning the Smerch. When I went through OBC in 1986, a pretty fair amount of our time was still spent memorizing Soviet order of battle. You were expected to know it in gruesome detail, to the extent that we learned it much better than we learned our own forces. We were expected to be able to figure out, for example, from the number and types of tanks in a battalion, whether we were dealing with a tank division, a motorized rifle division, an operational maneuver group, an independent tank battalion, etc. Artillery played a big role in that sort of order of battle. I don’t remember this launcher at all, but looking at its wiki entry, it didn’t enter the inventory until 1983, so I’m guessing it wasn’t fielded in significant numbers until much later. That makes me feel old.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I’m not trying to second guess tactical decisions. There’s a problem with this entire strategy of making America stronger through showing weakness. It’s an infantile fantasy that nations gain by behaving that way when they are in fact the strongest.

            And no, international sovereigns don’t make it better. They make it worse.

          • hiernonymous

            Restraint and weakness are not synonyms.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            No, but some times restraint is a euphemism for other things and it projects weakness. Appropriate restraint is a good thing if we agree on what is appropriate. Restraint as a cover for incompetence (or worse things) is essentially a cover for weakness, or at least is seen that way. Therefore he’s “projecting” weakness even though of course we still have by far the most military power of any other nation.

            He sure didn’t mind bombing Libya on behalf of the jihadis. But in so many other cases he hesitates and balks. After a while a pattern emerges and it becomes hard to deny.

          • hiernonymous

            “He sure didn’t mind bombing Libya on behalf of the jihadis. ”

            You’re straying from the facts. If your argument is good, it doesn’t need that sort of embellishment.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You’re straying from the facts.”

            Straighten it out.

            He wasn’t the only Western dupe. Nonetheless, it was his choice to “lead” in that case once he became confident in his narratives and understood that it would fit with his overall strategies. His agreement there is consistent with his motives for holding back elsewhere.

            It was only Putin that kept him from openly helping jihadis in Syria. Well, that and more pushback in the USA than he expected.

          • hiernonymous

            Except that he wasn’t bombing Libya “on behalf of the jihadis.” He pushed the bombing on behalf of the opposition to Qadhafi. Portraying that opposition as uniformly “jihadi” is to distort the facts.

            “It was only Putin that kept him from openly helping jihadis in Syria. Well, that and more pushback in the USA than he expected.”

            Which proposal are you referring to here?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Yes the LIFG was known for being moderate and peaceful.

          • hiernonymous

            About as moderate and peaceful as the Stern Gang.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Hiero. Always good for a topic deflection.

          • hiernonymous

            Don’t argue in cryptic one-liners if you’re not able to understand the response. If you thought that a deflection, you’re not thinking it through.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Since you took that for incomprehension, let me rephrase.

            Hiero. Always good for an Arabist/Brotherhood sympathizer deflection.

          • hiernonymous

            And, again, if you see that as deflection, it’s because you choose not to understand it.

            Let me help you: the LIFG and the Stern Gang were both groups that represented the extremist fringe of broad movements. In both the Jewish fight to establish Israel and the Libyan fight to overthrow Qadhafi, there were disparate groups that had to make common cause. Your comment attempted to equate the Libyan resistance with the LIFG; my comment points out that doing so is no more complete or fair than portraying the Stern Gang as representative of the forces fighting for Israel in the first war.

            That’s not a deflection, that gets to the heart of the problem with your comment. Interesting that you chose not to follow that.

            “Always good for the deflection one would expect of an Arabist propagandist with Saudi influences.”

            Interesting. What is an “Arabist propagandist?”

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Portraying that opposition as uniformly “jihadi” is to distort the facts.”

            I didn’t portray them as “uniformly jihadi.” The jihadis drove the opposition but I’m sure there were lots of poor saps that thought they were fighting for freedom as we define it in the West.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Which proposal are you referring to here?”

            Bombing (or something else) Assad in retaliation for alleged use of WMD.

            That thin, translucent, unstable and ultimately unknowable red line.

          • hiernonymous

            I’m glad I asked. “Openly helping jihadis” is a pretty poor way to characterize attacks on Assad. Arming Islamist groups to the exclusion of moderate or secular resistance organizations might be properly described as “openly helping jihadis.” As was the case in Libya, you seem to be choosing to characterize the resistance as uniformly religious, which simply wasn’t the case.

            If your logic is sound, it doesn’t need to rely on distorting the facts.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I’m not distorting it. These aren’t democracies. It doesn’t matter who is religious and who isn’t in terms of rank and file. It’s a jihad whether you like it or not. The vanguard is religious and it only serves jihad.

            “If your logic is sound, it doesn’t need to rely on distorting the facts.”

            All you can do is disagree about what is salient and you can only do that by discounting how Muslims organize themselves if they don’t openly reject Islam. Eventually they have to choose someone to lead and they can be killed for rejecting sharia or “the right” leadership. The jihadis always have the upper hand even when they’re apparently a minority.

            It doesn’t matter to this analysis if most of them are virtual apostates. It doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.

          • hiernonymous

            Let me be clear about your line of argument. You are claiming that, in both Libya and Syria, all opposition to the government is properly classified as “jihadi,” regardless of how the individuals themselves classify either their own motives or their group’s goals?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            No. Not at all. I thought my comment was pretty clear.

            I’m saying that regardless of how the factions can be evaluated and classified, in the end it serves only the jihadi’s goals in the cases we’re talking about.

            If you want “moderate Muslims” to succeed, you’ve got to tie them down to some kind of solid and enforceable commitment to a secular constitution before you give them aid. The jihadis know how to coopt those movements.

            If every piece on the chess board is secular but the king and queen are jihadi, the movement is jihadi. If every piece is secular but two knights, the movement is at risk for being coopted by jihadis at some point.

            I’m not talking about individuals. I’m talking about where a particular movement will end.

          • kasandra

            No, the Russians gave their proxies the BM-21 “Grail” truck mounted multiple launch rocket system, a surface-to-surface rocket artillery system and some T-64 tanks. The Ukrainians have their own T-64s and othet tanks to deal with them but, yes, I would have given them TOW missile systems if that is what they needed. Using them does not need an extensive amount of training. Reportedly we were sending TOWs to the “moderate” Syrian opposition. If they can use then surely the Ukrainians can, too.

          • kasandra

            My bad. It’s Grad, not Grail. Grail is, indeed, the NATO designation for the SA-7 Strella (Arrow) manpad.

          • hiernonymous

            Roger. I was just curious, it didn’t get in the way of understanding your point.

          • Drakken

            The Russians have the modern T-90 and upgraded T-80′s.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            hiernonymous kasandra • 5 hours ago: “So you’re suggesting that providing body armor and weapons and intelligence would have shifted the balance of power in the Ukraine such that they could have held on to the Crimea?”

            That’s not the only possible winning or productive scenario.

          • hiernonymous

            Possibly not. I can only respond to what is posted, not what might have been posted. I’m happy – and genuinely interested – to hear alternatives. What did you have in mind?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            The problem comes from counter-productive leadership at the very top.

            Are there solutions in the interim? We could work with the existing sovereigns more closely, but that assumes more mistakes won’t be made continuously.

            If you ask me what should be done, I’d have to start with changing our leadership so that I could have confidence we would not be constantly undermined by our own.

            Otherwise if we have to put up with the current strategy there really is no tactical fix for it. The strategy itself is based on fantasy.

            IOW, 0′Bama disengagement is base on fantasy at best, and possibly is designed to weaken is in order to favor others as part of that fantasy-based strategy to “transform” the USA.

            Having hashtag wars and bringing “reset” buttons to rivals is really not helpful when you have nothing else to back it up.

          • hiernonymous

            “Changing our leadershhip” isn’t a course of action, it’s a cop-out. The question isn’t “who should be leading us” but “what course of action would you recommend to those leaders.”

            “…0′Bama….”

            Perhaps I misread you. I didn’t think you were one of those.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Changing our leadershhip” isn’t a course of action, it’s a cop-out. The question isn’t “who should be leading us” but “what course of action would you recommend to those leaders.”

            I would recommend that POTUS resign. And I’m not joking. He’s the main problem. I don’t put band-aids on open wounds that require stitches.

            That is the solution. Short of that, there are no smart tactical moves that would help. It just doesn’t matter.

            I’m absolutely serious.If he doesn’t resign. there’s no help I can offer him. I mean unless we had some kind of meeting of the minds that I can’t anticipate happening.

            I have no other advice for him. I would recommend to his advisers that they wake up and offer the same advice.

          • hiernonymous

            That’s still a cop-out. The question in play was what foreign policy options were available to the U.S.

            It seems you’re avoiding that question by digressing into an attack on the leadership. Nobody’s asking you to “offer help” to the Obama administration. You stated that there was a wide range of options that were available to us, and I’m wondering which you thought had prospects for success. If you can’t identify any, then it’s not clear what complaint you could have with the administration’s approach.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s still a cop-out. The question in play was what foreign policy options were available to the U.S.”

            Not. There are no smart moves because the fundamental problem is POTUS.

            If I had to work with 0′Bama I’d first tell him that he should resign but immediately he should work with the legitimate sovereigns in Iraq as the highest priority.

            After that I would ask him to send a team to recover the terrorists that he released and recapture them.

            I would ask him to change his entire approach to every relationship that we have. And I would advise that his “pivot to Asia” or the Pacific or whatever he claims to be doing would be a lot more intelligent as well.

            The most flattering thing that I can say about him is that he’s dramatically under-qualified and that it’s the wrong time to pick a US president for the symbolism. We need the best performance we can get.

            “If you can’t identify any, then it’s not clear what complaint you could have with the administration’s approach.”

            My complaint is everything, not nothing. I’ve already told you. If you can’t understand the statement that “good” tactics can’t fix bad strategies…I’m not sure what I can say to persuade you to give it a little more thought.

            It’s better to let him do what he wants to do if he won’t resign. In a sense, I’m agreeing with you but you just don’t realize it. His tactics are appropriate for his agenda. I reject his agenda.

          • Americana

            Your concept about resignation is simply ludicrous, objectivefactsmatter. First, there is no point to a resignation if you haven’t got alternatives that are sure fire policy/strategy wins. (So, let’s hear your alternative strategies and don’t bother telling me that you won’t share them w/us because they can’t be implemented unless YOUR choice of POTUS is instated.) Second, the POTUS is ONE AMONG MANY BRAINS assisting w/making the decisions. If there were truly as much riding on Pres. Obama as you’re claiming and he is the only one on which you can lay blame, I’d say, fine, perhaps it’s a thought. But that’s just not the case. So, I’m all ears. What is it you suggest for strategy and policy changes that should be implemented RIGHT NOW in order to further American aims in the Middle East?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Your concept about resignation is simply ludicrous, objectivefactsmatter. First, there is no point to a resignation if you haven’t got alternatives that are sure fire policy/strategy wins.”

            You have a myopic understanding about leadership.

            First of all, we are quickly becoming known as a people that coddle our losers. Perhaps in baseball we should change the rules to allow the batter to continue until he hits something. That 3 strike limit is so unfair. It’s hurtful. It signals intolerance. And who’s to say the next batter will do any better? Just let the guy swing away.

            Second, there are additional problems when we coddle leaders that fail. I’m consistent about this. I don’t just expect POTUS to resign. I would like to see more losers get out of the way before we’re forced to drag them.

            “First, there is no point to a resignation if you haven’t got alternatives that are sure fire policy/strategy wins. (So, let’s hear your alternative strategies and don’t bother telling me that you won’t share them w/us because they can’t be implemented unless YOUR choice of POTUS is instated.)”

            Actually there is a point. Just having him resign signals to others that we do not accept this kind of failure and even if the following presidents don’t come up with something better, at the very least let it be known that we are not happy with the current course. That alone makes it worth it. That alone.

            And as a matter of fact I already outlined what I would do differently elsewhere on this same discussion page.

            “Second, the POTUS is ONE AMONG MANY BRAINS assisting w/making the decisions. If there were truly as much riding on Pres. Obama as you’re claiming and he is the only one on which you can lay blame, I’d say, fine, perhaps it’s a thought.”

            Any new leader that comes in after a resignation is expected to “clean house.”

            “What is it you suggest for strategy and policy changes that should be implemented RIGHT NOW in order to further American aims in the Middle East?”

            Read my comments elsewhere and see what you think is missing afterwards – then I’ll consider spending time with a summary. But start with getting involved again with the legitimate factions and if necessary drop a few bombs on the illegitimate aggressors.

          • Americana

            Pres. Obama is not so unsuccessful he needs to summarily resign. “Coddling a loser?” That’s not at all the reality of what’s happening but the fact you claim that it is speaks to haute politics. I don’t see any American political leader who’s given us a clear path forward to guaranteed success in the Middle East or for the recovery of this slow economic cycle. (Macroeconomics bows to no POTUS.) Heck, even Gov. Romney finally said we should up the minimum wage across the country! No, what you’re asking for is to persecute someone whose policy decisions you don’t like regardless of how much those policies will benefit this country in the long run because some of his policies don’t sit well w/some factions. There are quite a few Obama policy decisions on which I disagree but there are others w/which I fundamentally agree. There is oftentimes a time lag between when policies are instituted and when they are ultimately judged successful.

            No, sorry, objetivefactsmatter, I’m asking for your strategic objectives right now. As for “getting involved w/the legitimate factions,” I believe we’re still doing that even though we don’t have an active military presence. Are you suggesting that getting involved w/the legitimate factions means that we once again commit vast numbers of American ground forces? It’s great to suggest bombing as a way to control their massing into strategic units, but “a few bombs” won’t cut it. It’s either a LARGE SCALE bombing campaign or nothing.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Pres. Obama is not so unsuccessful he needs to summarily resign.”

            We disagree on the severity of the problem. He’s a comprehensive failure in every measure.

            “”Coddling a loser?” That’s not at all the reality of what’s happening but the fact you claim that it is speaks to haute politics.”

            The cult of losers is coddling the head loser, if you want to put it in simple terms.

            “I don’t see any American political leader who’s given us a clear path forward to guaranteed success in the Middle East or for the recovery of this slow economic cycle. (Macroeconomics bows to no POTUS.)”

            That’s right. Because the root problem is with the body politic, not any individual.

            “Heck, even Gov. Romney finally said we should up the minimum wage across the country!”

            Pretty pathetic. Although now that the government has set minimums I personally think they should be tied rigidly to economic indices and we should really try to keep political interventions out of the economy except when absolutely necessary.

            “No, what you’re asking for is to persecute someone whose policy decisions you don’t like regardless of how much those policies will benefit this country in the long run because some of his policies don’t sit well w/some factions.”

            How am I persecuting anyone? I have high standards for performance. It has nothing to do with him personally. And he has no personal “right” to occupy the office. I’m saying that if he cared about the country and had the awareness we expect from great leaders, he’d resign. Not just because his foreign policy is a complete mess since he arrived, but domestically he’s done controversial and ineffective things with regard to his rhetoric, his policies and everything in between as far as anyone can tell.

            “There are quite a few Obama policy decisions on which I disagree but there are others w/which I fundamentally agree. There is oftentimes a time lag between when policies are instituted and when they are ultimately judged successful.”

            Name one thing that he’s done that has clearly benefited the country. He started by ramming a fascist healthcare plan through congress and running off to Egypt to improve Muslim self-esteem and it’s been all downhill from there. Please tell me what the plus side is of having this guy stick around. More class warfare rhetoric? More accusations of “racism” and “unfairness” from the “one percent” (which in reality is just about everyone that works for a living). The more I think about it, the more convinced I become.

            So please tell me the benefits of continued presence of this guy in the White House. I need to hear something uplifting that is also at least plausibly true.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “No, sorry, objetivefactsmatter, I’m asking for your strategic objectives right now. As for “getting involved w/the legitimate factions,” I believe we’re still doing that even though we don’t have an active military presence. Are you suggesting that getting involved w/the legitimate factions means that we once again commit vast numbers of American ground forces?”

            Return to Bush’s strategy with adjustments to learn from the mistakes. Don’t try to reboot everything just because it’s “old” and in the name some nebulous “transformation” god.

            That simply means helping the good factions and sovereigns stand up to the jihadis. We don’t need any more wars, but we have battles to fight still. And we might at this point have to do something sharp in Iran soon, but that is where we deviate from Bush’s tactics. After that I would expect things to come down if all of my suggested are followed. I’m not sure you read them all though because I was also talking with others about the same topic and you might have missed significant aspects of what I’ve said.

            “It’s great to suggest bombing as a way to control their massing into strategic units, but “a few bombs” won’t cut it. It’s either a LARGE SCALE bombing campaign or nothing.”

            We should bomb them immediately while helping those “friends” in the region muster their own resources. Adjust as needed until the job is finished.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You stated that there was a wide range of options that were available to us, and I’m wondering which you thought had prospects for success.”

            These options would need to be backed by a new strategy first. That’s when the options open up. IOW, POTUS is not boxed in by uncontrollables. He boxed us in.

            I would like to see more support for the Iraqi national government for now. I can’t offer anything more than that because as I keep saying, our entire strategic approach is wrong at this time. Maybe in the long run it’s better for us to see the costs of the failures.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Perhaps I misread you. I didn’t think you were one of those.”

            One of those what? People that are clear they’d like POTUS to resign? Yeah, I’m one of those.

          • hiernonymous

            Well, no, I mean people who are so caught up in spite that they can’t even write the names of the main actors without resorting to stale ‘wit.’ Zeros, apostrophes, etc., contribute nothing to the exchange of ideas.

            As I said, if that’s how you roll, knock yourself out. I just had you pegged as someone a bit more serious than that.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            It’s not spite. It’s a trivial reminder to people that I would like him to resign. I don’t think he offers any value on the job.

            I mean I think we’re getting so insanely sensitive about how people can voice dissent. Claim to be a victim? You can set things on fire and very likely avoid jail. But replace an O with a zero while disagreeing with the left and suddenly your credibility or temper or whatever is questioned.

            It’s just silly. And aside from that, it also makes reference to his Irish heritage. So it’s anti-racist I guess.

          • hiernonymous

            “It’s just silly.”

            That’s rather my point. As I said, knock yourself out.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Agreed.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Well, no, I mean people who are so caught up in spite that they can’t even write the names of the main actors without resorting to stale ‘wit.’ Zeros, apostrophes, etc., contribute nothing to the exchange of ideas.”

            Barack Obama.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As I said, if that’s how you roll, knock yourself out. I just had you pegged as someone a bit more serious than that.”

            I am serious when I think I need to be. I’m just not as rigid as you expect.

            It’s stale wit because I don’t think about it much when I type. I don’t have an editor looking over my shoulder and I just comment in between other tasks. The only thought I put in to it was that it’s probably an apt way to protest this under-qualified president who might have done a better job if not for the blind support he gets along with having his proxies remind everything that it’s racist to oppose his words or actions.

            Most presidents probably are under-qualified. The problem is that he has all of the wrong people and factions as advisers.

            So it’s not even personal. I would even have a beer with the guy and I would explain very nicely why I think it’s best for everyone that he resign. He might even become my friend.

            Right now to assert that he’s a zero and not a huge liability is actually giving him the benefit of the doubt. It’s been obvious since he rammed the ACA through along with his idiotic “climate” or “green” agenda through along with foreign policy that weakens our standing everywhere.

            I mean – I don’t know how you defend the guy (his performance) when you know the criticism and for some reason you don’t want to acknowledge the tolls.

            I know you’re here to add nuance to the discourse and that in itself is a good thing. But then you tilt irrationally towards defending his performance in unbalanced ways because you’re afraid that conservatives are going to bring forth a new American Nawzi party – because our criticism is (you seem to think) is based on emotion. I believe your theory is that xenophobia and jingoistic nationalism drive our criticism.

          • Drakken

            The Crimea is a done deal, but it certainly would have made them think twice about going into eastern Ukraine as they are now. Europe is dependent on Russian gas, hence they won’t do anything and going from the G-8 to the G-7 isn’t going to affect Russia in the slightest.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “So when confronted with Putin’s coup de main, the U.S. could have responded with an immediate show of force. This would have accomplished nothing. We’re not going to risk Armageddon over the Crimea, no matter who is president, and the Russians know that. A show of force would have been laughable.”

            There are practically an infinite number of choices that could be taken in between the actual weak reactions and something that would signal we would not tolerate this kind of behavior indefinitely.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Let’s look at Russia, shall we? The U.S has a pretty weak hand vis-a-vis Ukraine, in that it is not a member of NATO, it is on Russia’s borders and is critical to Russian national interests in a way that it is not to ours, and the U.S. has nearly no meaningful economic leverage.”

            And how long do you suppose we’ve had to contemplate the possibility or arriving in this position?

            “So when confronted with Putin’s coup de main, the U.S. could have responded with an immediate show of force. This would have accomplished nothing. We’re not going to risk Armageddon over the Crimea, no matter who is president, and the Russians know that. A show of force would have been laughable.”

            At this point? Yes, exactly. That is the main problem. We’re not credible. Not that we’d need to do things like buzz their coasts with bombers or anything like that necessarily, but our actions of the last few years already signal how we’ll react to these recent moves. And it’s not like our…whatever strategy in Syria wasn’t a big signal on its own. And who is buzzing our coasts?

            “Economic sanctions? We don’t have the leverage. The deals Putin sealed in Beijing recently were intended to underscore that. So what meaningful response can Obama make?”

            And whose fault is that? Those stupid Republicans weakening our economy. No doubt. POTUS has his hands tied. Poor POTUS.

            “Turns out that his only real shot of containing Russia in Europe is to get European buy-in, and that is a tough sell. Russia is integral to an awful lot of the European economy. For all that, he’s making progress. G8 is now G7, and you’d better believe that has Putin’s attention. Long term, Russia needs help diversifying its economy out of the energy sector, and Obama’s approach may nit be immediately gratifying, but plays on that long-term need.”

            POTUS has not exactly been making friends around the entire globe, has he? There are only certain factions that he even tries to build closer ties with. Reset button Kabuki theater doesn’t count in my analysis since there was nothing more to the strategy than the theatrics.

            Who are we closer with since 2008? Not only is this president a disaster in terms of diplomatic moves and international statesmanship but he’s weakened our economy and positioned us for decline domestically as well. All of his strategies favor our enemies. Is that not meaningful to you? Isn’t that banking quite a bit on the simply game theory hope that ratcheting down aggression will lead others to do the same?

            It’s so naive that it’s pitiful. It’s bad enough that I have to hear dimwits making these suggestions. I can put up with that. But when one of those dimwits is elected to the highest office in the nation, and becomes the single most powerful man in the world, at such a time as this…

            It’s not good.

            No, there are no magical tactical solutions to these problems.

          • hiernonymous

            “…A show of force would have been laughable.”

            At this point? Yes, exactly.

            No, at any point. The Bush Administration responded in much the same way to the Georgian war for much the same reason. There hasn’t been a president in our history who would have gone to war with the Russians over the issues involved in the Ukraine, and that’s not a fact unknown to any of the players. If you feel differently, feel free to use the Georgian crisis to illustrate the differences of approach.

            “Economic sanctions? We don’t have the leverage. The deals Putin sealed in Beijing recently were intended to underscore that. So what meaningful response can Obama make?”

            And whose fault is that? Those stupid Republicans weakening our economy. No doubt. POTUS has his hands tied. Poor POTUS.

            Whose fault is it? Kennan. Stalin. Dulles. Are you kidding me? As arch-foes for much of the last century, there was very little desire or room for the development of the sort of serious economic interdependence that creates economic leverage. There’s no particular reason to expect that there would be exploitable economic leverage.

            “It’s so naive that it’s pitiful.”

            Realists have long made this accusation against the Idealists in foreign policy, yet, ironically, it’s the steely-eyed Realists, with their self-professed grasp of what constitutes the National Interest, that make the gaffes that cost us in the long run. Do I think that Obama’s policies uniquely favor our ‘enemies?’ Why, no. I think that Bush’s unilateralism and knee-jerk militarism opened the door for region-wide Islamism. Mosul did not fall because Obama was insufficiently resolute or warlike; it fell because the U.S. embarked on a military adventure in 2003 with no clear sense of what it hoped to accomplish or what the consequences might be, and the people of several countries have been trying to pick up the pieces ever since. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan, knocked the Taliban out of power, then proceeded to neglect the state for the next decade, offering neither serious nation-building support nor serious security support, running that war on a shoestring while dealing with the much bigger problem in Iraq. Now we have a resurgent Taliban, and apparently you want to blame Obama for not staying the course, though there was no course to stay.

            But, oh my starts and garters, the consequences if we fail! We can’t afford to let those countries fall into the hands of terrorist, because then terrorists will have the resources of a state at their disposal! Well, yes, they would. A funny thing happens when people find themselves in control of a state. One of the first is that they discover that their capital is not mobile. It will be in the same place tomorrow that it is today. Terrorist groups can hide; they can be Mao’s little fish in the big ocean. States, not so much. We’ve had states who wanted to do us harm before, and had no problem dealing with that, because state on state is a game at which the U.S. excels. I think you might even find that if the stars aligned in all sorts of terrible ways, and the wildest-eyed of Islamist fanatics got his wish, and the Caliphate were established, that the world would muddle along. It’s hard not to notice that, after years of hearing the sermons about the terrible consequences of falling dominoes, it turns out that the security of the United States wasn’t materially affected by who was calling the shots in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City.

            What I, personally, have said for years is that the repressive dictatorships in the Middle East have to go, and if the price of their departure is a decade or six of letting the Islamists get it out of their system, that’s not the end of the world. It would be better to see the Arab states transition to secular democracies, but, you see, here’s where that bit of history that so many on this site try to pre-emptively dismiss as hating America comes in. You see, the secular democracies have spent the last half-century or so propping up despots in order to keep the price of gasoline reasonable at home. One consequence of this is that when Arabs cast about for ideologies or systems to replace the ones they’re overthrowing, the whole rah-rah Founding Fathers bit rings a bit hollow to them. To them, Washington is a picture found on the greenbacks used to bankroll the people who put them in prisons for so long. So, sure, you run into situations like Egypt’s, where the majority of the population wants to see an end to military dictatorship, and what they want to replace it with is something that Jerry Falwell would have been a lot more comfortable with than would Thomas Jefferson. You talk about naive – naive is thinking that just because we want to see some sort of mirror image of the U.S. running those states, that there’s a short straight path to get there. Naive was thinking that we could short circuit the process by backing al Sisi and his coup. Naive was thinking that a military coup was all that stood between us and Iran II – or that, for that matter, that the U.S. could not survive an Iran II.

            There are no magical tactical solutions to these problems? Do you think there is a magical strategic solution? Because the traditional “stability at any cost” approach was pretty much a disaster, not only for us, but for the cause of secular democracy in the region.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “No, at any point. The Bush Administration responded in much the same way to the Georgian war for much the same reason. There hasn’t been a president in our history who would have gone to war with the Russians over the issues involved in the Ukraine, and that’s not a fact unknown to any of the players. If you feel differently, feel free to use the Georgian crisis to illustrate the differences of approach.”

            First, I don’t think that Bush is the archetype for conservative leadership in any sense. Replacing him with “Obama” is a step in the wrong direction. We’re supposed to learn from events, not watch them cascade over us.

            And that’s not to say that Bush got it right or wrong at the time. The point is that even if we agree that Bush was right to show restraint (and I agree that he was), it doesn’t mean that we should not have prepared for further similar moves. We should have understood clearly that Putin is trying to restore the “lost empire” in a general sense and in the mean time adjust all of our strategies to discourage it and to be prepared for the day that we might have to do something about it beyond angry hashtags on twitter. IOW now is not the time to pivot to “green energy” when our rivals and enemies are all trying to destroy our economy as well. That’s just one example.

            Even though we probably would never actually fight the Russian in Europe, there are many costs associated with our hands-off approach. It’s this whole notion that as the only superpower we should now go on some kind of cruise control mode and let the minor players battle it out. We should do that except when it works against us (which naturally nobody would deny) but we’re not paying attention to what our interests really are and what the risks really are in letting jihadis run amok and tell us tall tales about what their agenda is.

            Bush was not very good. 0′Bama or Obama has learned all of the wrong lessons form history. Even if in theory we can’t say that any other president could have prevented any given event (some times true, some times not) the specific way that we react can also send signals about what is tolerable for the future.

            Nobody believes the White House or any of his red lines. None of his rhetoric is believable. He’s trashed our economy and our interests around the world not beyond the point of recovery, but in trajectories that lead to very high costs being paid for every additional day or week that he’s in office.

            Just having him resign would signal to “the world” that we citizens will only tolerate so much. And Biden would not do anything differently but the signal would mean a lot in certain realms.

            We’ve got to elect smarter presidents. Smarter than both 44 and 43.

            I’m sorry that so few people see the urgency in getting things right. Excuses really only count in academic conversations. The world is worse off because of “progressive” fallacies (not to mention the many outright lies) about what motivates people to become violent.

            I don’t know if Ted Cruz is the right guy. But anyone that cites Reagan as a role model and also understands jihad better than Bush will probably make a better 45th president. Or 46th if we end up counting Biden.

            But we both know that 44 won’t resign, so the best approach is to have conversations about how we can learn from these mistakes and demand better performance from our leaders.

          • hiernonymous

            I don’t think that others don’t see the urgency in “getting things right.” If the topic is fixing America, I think that the selection of the president or the ideology he espouses is trivial. Our problems are institutional and aren’t going to be solved by getting just the right guy into office.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I agree with you more than you realize. Where we part is that you seem to (from my perspective) discount or overlook how humans react to symbols and ideas.

            It’s difficult to measure these reactions scientifically or empirically through experiments but we can glean useful intelligence by looking at various arcs of history and looking for cultural factors.

            It’s possibly you’re misunderstanding me because you think that I’m claiming ideology has some direct and consistent cause and effect. Although it can some times, there are always other factors.

            The point is again that ideologies create frameworks that shape culture which influences behaviors and scripts for reactions. Humans are still autonomous, but ideology and culture give autonomous humans convenient tools to use when facing want or need.

            Just as you can predict more or less how a carpenter will use a hammer, you can predict more or less how a group of Westerners will react to hunger or to anger, Obviously with fully autonomous humans we still have murderers and thugs in every culture, but some cultures breed outlaws more easily than others and I think there are discernible reasons.

            You can’t use ideology to predict anyone’s future behavior. But the larger the groups and the more you know about the context the better your predictions will be.

            Now if you really master the influence of ideology and culture you can integrate that in to your leadership “tool set” and that gives you a wider range of options for shaping outcomes.

            WRT any particular leader resigning as a result of failure, it immediately signals to most poeple that there is broad consensus that the status quo is not acceptable. That alone is an improvement even if the subsequent leader is no better because everyone will still understand that the the status quo needs to change.

            And if you’re leading hundreds of millions of people, sending those kinds of signals can lead to positive things.

            Unfortunately in this case it can lead to negative things too. It would really depend on how it was handled. And that’s why I’m not organizing marches asking him to resign. It really has to come from his team. Getting him impeached would be very bad.

            I guess the best case scenario that I can imagine would probably be having him box himself in politically because his party starts pressuring him about the need to win midterm elections. And then if the RP picks up enough seats in the Senate, and he starts responding to conservative concerns, the best thing for the nation is to change POTUS in early 2017 and start rebuilding.

            “Our problems are institutional and aren’t going to be solved by getting just the right guy into office.”

            I agree absolutely. But in my wildest hopes and dreams the guy wakes up and realizes he’s not qualified and then works to find a graceful way to resign. I know that’s not really going to happen.

            My wish for him to resign isn’t a search for “the right guy” but a change in attitude about how we as Americans respond to our own failures. The buck stops where?

            If he wants to go down in history as a great leader, his best shot is to come up with a way to resign that doesn’t incite his followers to blame dissenters. I think it would be a great moment and he would earn a lot of respect as a great statesman. And he’s young enough to that I think he’d have a much better life after the White House if he leaves on better terms.

            That’s really what I have in mind. I know it won’t happen.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…the selection of the president or the ideology he espouses is trivial.”

            It’s not trivial by the time you factor in everything touched by ideology and culture. All of the advisers he picks and listens to, the organizational tools he uses to manage his staff and who he cuts deals with when we can’t hear or see…all those things make ideology and culture nontrivial.

            Some ideologies are superficial and trivial. Being raised on the any ideology that accepts or promotes the concept that the government has a role in “economic social justice” is not trivial or superficial.

            We have a constitution already. If some emergency comes up and economic interventions are needed…well we can disagree about what to do but that’s no big deal. But projecting support for the Occupy Wall Street movement – that alone was a radical and destructive decision.

            He came promising to unite us, and he has only worked to divide us. I can’t see how anyone can take his promises to “unite the nation” as serious. I think it was a mendacious promise from the start.

          • hiernonymous

            I say it’s trivial because the executive, while in a great position to take short-term actions, is not well-placed to make far-reaching institutional changes. The institutions are too resistant.

            As for projecting support for OWS – I don’t see that as radical and destructive. You might consider this – OWS has come and gone. Had the government responded with a crackdown, chances are very good that it would have expanded and still been active.

            “He came promising to unite us, and he has only worked to divide us.”

            You think the polarization of America is an Obama phenomenon, do you?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I say it’s trivial because the executive, while in a great position to take short-term actions, is not well-placed to make far-reaching institutional changes. The institutions are too resistant.”

            Generally speaking that’s true. Great leaders can make lasting impact by communicating what is needed and proving it (or persuading) such that those that come after will follow at least partially.

            “As for projecting support for OWS – I don’t see that as radical and destructive. You might consider this – OWS has come and gone. Had the government responded with a crackdown, chances are very good that it would have expanded and still been active.”

            Again there are more than two choices. There is no way POTUS or any government official should have given any signals that this was an acceptable way to protest when they started proudly breaking laws and destroying property. They should have been clearly condemned without equivocation. And it would have been a great time to start communicating the values we have as productive people and not communists that assume all wealth is simply some thing or set of things that poeple gather and hoard.

            I think that because you share some of these same attitudes about wealth that you’ve been sucked in by OWS sentiments and the same sentiments that inspired them. Put another way, a great leader would also positively impact you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You think the polarization of America is an Obama phenomenon, do you?”

            Don’t be ridiculous. He’s sitting in the White House right now. He’s exploiting it, not helping it. And he’s possibly better positioned to do something positive than most others.

            If that doesn’t bother you, you’re a pretty cynical guy. I expect more from our leaders. All of them.

          • hiernonymous

            I have a somewhat different perspective on this polarization. I’ve never seen a president faced with such early, mindless oppositional rage so early in his presidency. The Birther phenomenon was mindboggling and revealed a great deal about who we really are. The hatred is palpable. You really think he’s better positioned to heal that?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I have a somewhat different perspective on this polarization. I’ve never seen a president faced with such early, mindless oppositional rage so early in his presidency. ”

            That’s a very interesting take from you because it’s so superficial. First you point out that he didn’t start the polarization and then you imply that it still nonetheless started with him?

            The polarization began at the start of time. The early history of this particular strain of virus that divides us started in the “angry atheist” movement.

            But the recent past that we can learn the most from is how leftists responded to the end of the cold war and their expectations and paranoia about “corporations” and “globalization” (from them meaning enterprises that legally span national borders – they love free Internet services but hate the underlying principals that are needed for it) and so forth.

            Clinton rode that wave pretty well as a savvy politician. I’m not going to say here if that’s good or bad. But the early break out of blatant and ugly partisan politics could be seen with how he handled his despicable personal behavior when it was exposed and also how the opposition and press responded.

            We’re a divided people. Once you realize that you can either try to figure out ways to ignore it, to help heal it or to exploit it for your own gain.

            In any case, moving along the timeline we see how the left reacted to Mr. Bush’s win in 2000 with intense anger rather than a disappointed sense of wishing for a better way. The WTC attacks ended up being a huge opportunity for angry leftists.

            Barrack Obama is just another one of those leftists. But at the same time from the movement’s perspective he’s an awesome political Trojan horse. He could be used to shield and protect a more aggressive approach. And that’s what happened. That’s what’s continuing to this day.

            Can you imagine any other administration trying to hide IRS emails by claiming strenuously that some kind of equipment failure could wipe out 2 years worth of email and remain undiscovered for another several years after that? I can tell you that it’s not possible to happen by accident and not possible to happen without at least a small conspiracy. Just for that email claim to be made. That alone is a scandal to take such a position with our congress.

            However, as an individual that wanted to be a great statesman, he could have arrived at a truly effective middle ground. But he’s actually of the same mind as the radicals in his party. He’s not out to be a great American statesman. He’s delusional and he’s out to be a great global statesman and he’s violating his fiduciary duties to his office.

            That’s how I see it.

            “The Birther phenomenon was mindboggling and revealed a great deal about who we really are.”

            You’re reacting to caricatured arguments. The rational position is that these questions are not about deciding if someone is an alien from Africa or from Mars. The questions are pointing out that he wasn’t seriously vetted and he has a radical background.

            I wonder if you’ve read his books. Come on man. His best friend or father figure was an American Communist Party (CPUSA) member that hated the establishment. He apologizes for and associates openly with anti-American figures like Rashid Khalidi, William Ayers and other similar but lower profile radicals. These guys are not centrists or moderate in any sense other than observing that they don’t (at this moment) have weapons in their hands.

            Come on man. It’s not like these guys are dissidents with rational plans to help their American constituents. These guys are liars and subversives that strike a moderate pose only because their radical tactics failed and they found opportunities to exploit power from the inside.

            The birther phenomenon was a beautiful example of the DP and old media exploiting new media to mine maniacal remarks or to place the remarks in a deceptive and negative context to falsely express what originated in legitimate concerns. And the more that happened, the more successfully they divided us, and the greater opportunities they found for broadcasting caricatures. Because they just helped the DP make the opposition angry. And it’s easier than ever today to find angry people saying things with an unfortunate turn of phrase. And that accelerates rumors and so forth, feeding the anger and so forth. These are classic class warfare agitation tactics that have more potential than ever before because of the state of technology.

            “The hatred is palpable.”

            They’re angry at what’s happening. And that is understandable when you look at it objectively rather than climbing down to their level and dehumanizing people and their concerns because you feel they’ve dehumanized someone else. But your instinct actually helped you become part of the problem in your own way. You went with the tide of polarization.

            “You really think he’s better positioned to heal that?”

            Of course he is. He’s trying to ride the wave, not tame it. His entire focus is to exploit it. That’s what radicals are trained and conditioned to do. That’s their entire approach to revolution within a democracy.

            He exploited the hopes that many people have for healing racial and political divisions in favor of the hopes of socialists and communists, not to mention other factions that want to exploit them. Basically his whole approach favors anyone that opposes America’s traditions and standing in the world politically, militarily and economically. The agenda all along has been to fan the flames and use the fallout to denounce some aspect of “the system” like “racial inequality” or “income inequality” or “wealth inequality” and all of these demagogic and collectivist complaints they have that are mostly caused by what we call the human condition.

            Yes there are ways to improve the human condition. No you don’t have to destroy “the system” to help the human condition collectively. But you have to strive to accurately evaluate the lessons from history beyond the Marxist or neo-Marxist lens.

          • hiernonymous

            ” First you point out that he didn’t start the polarization and then you imply that it still nonetheless started with him?”

            Why, no. The fact that it erupted so early in his presidency doesn’t imply that it started with him at all; it implies that it had been there waiting to erupt.

            “The rational position is that these questions are not about deciding if someone is an alien from Africa or from Mars. The questions are pointing out that he wasn’t seriously vetted and he has a radical background.”

            Well, no, and for two reasons. A good deal of the instinctive opposition arose out of xenophobia and racism, not necessarily in that order. That doesn’t mean that this was the only reason people didn’t like Mr. Obama, but it was significant and real.

            As for the ostensible reasons for the outcry, on what rational basis can you argue that Mr. Obama was vetted any less seriously or thoroughly than any other candidate? Many of the demands made on him by the angry opposition are demands that have never been satisfied in the past. No president has been asked to cough up his birth certificate, his college transcripts, or prove his religious affiliation. It’s a circus.

            And if we’re going to be honest, we have to acknowledge that a good deal of the angst is not about his “radicalism,” but because of twin fears: first, that “he’s not like us” – that is, he is not a white male patrician – and, second, the lurking fear that “he is like us” – that is, that this brown man of different heritages is increasingly representative of the population of the U.S.

            Sorry, I don’t have the energy to address everything else right now – I don’t plan to turn every exchange into a comprehensive review of the Obama presidency. I object to many things that Obama has done, but it’s not based on his ‘radical’ past or his concerns about inequality, which I consider valid, but about what I see as his hypocritical extension of the police powers of the state and his failure to follow through on promises of transparency. But that’s another topic for another day.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Why, no. The fact that it erupted so early in his presidency doesn’t imply that it started with him at all; it implies that it had been there waiting to erupt.”

            Waiting to erupt as in one party gains power at the expense of the other? So what’s new?

            “Well, no, and for two reasons. A good deal of the instinctive opposition arose out of xenophobia and racism, not necessarily in that order.”

            A good deal of it? I’d say that the positive reaction to the affirmation that a racial “minority” can get elected to our highest office far outweighed any racial animosity against him. So I’m not sure how you use “racism” to explain opposition here. It works both ways and his “race” actually worked in his favor all tolled.

            “That doesn’t mean that this was the only reason people didn’t like Mr. Obama, but it was significant and real.”

            Significant how? Exploited to the point of absurdity by the DP? Absolutely. That’s the point I was making.

            “As for the ostensible reasons for the outcry, on what rational basis can you argue that Mr. Obama was vetted any less seriously or thoroughly than any other candidate?”

            Because all of his radical characteristic were held back by mainstream media outlets – until they could no longer deny a few connections – that didn’t want to disrupt the “hope and change” signified by the progress of affirming that our body politic is willing to elect a “black” or “minority” POTUS.

            Perhaps there has never been a consistent “gold standard” for how vigorously politicians are vetted, but there can be no question at all that this is by far the most controversial individual to ever approach this level of success in national politics. And his radical background is trivialized and when possible hidden. Then again, you trivialize it too…so you’re still part of the crowd that has yet to wake up.

            Even if we openly choose a socialist president, at the very least the media is expected to lay out the real issues for debate. But instead the questions were all geared around whether we as a people were “ready” for a “black president.” That’s the only agenda that mattered. The rest was managing risk. Is is OK that he went to a radical church? Well that shouldn’t matter much because he is “black” and that’s a good explanation. Well it is and it isn’t. All of his family background points to a guy that is not conditioned to give a damn about doing the kind of job we expect presidents to do every since we founded this nation.

            If that is truly the kind of change people were voting for, I did not see the kind of debates that would convince me that it was. And it was really not up to him as a candidate to throw away his chances by saying, yes I’m black but I’m also a radical leftist. Obviously that’s not something anyone would expect to happen.

            And even today you hear these constant excuses and pointing to “racism” and just nonsense when his policies are radical and his whole relationship with the public is mendacious. Please pay attention. Any other president trying to pull this off would have been impeached long ago. Possibly in the first term. Forget about reelection. No way.

            “Many of the demands made on him by the angry opposition are demands that have never been satisfied in the past. No president has been asked to cough up his birth certificate, his college transcripts, or prove his religious affiliation. It’s a circus.”

            How many presidents had such a controversial background? How many presidents came to the scene with so little experience and so little known about his background? There was legitimate concern and a BC would not have resolved it completely and possibly not at all. But because of his choice to play that way, it simply became the focal point. How many presidential candidates have come on the scene after being raised without a father (who happens to be a foreigner and a socialist) that participated in some American enterprise? It doesn’t have to be about “race” or “racism” to wonder if someone has foreign or enemy interests at heart. Give me a break. If his father had been from Russia and all we knew was that he was a socialist, do you think a “white” guy in the same situation would be challenged to come up with better documents and explanations about background?

            He should have been more cooperative with his BC and many other things. The BC became a focal point because some thought that was a kind of simple way to show that he’s not cooperating with the vetting and others believed even worse things. The BC issue is not about “aliens” from Mars or other species but alien views and alien interests. Like international socialism for one thing.

            And he could have done a lot to deflate concerns but he encouraged the carnival atmosphere because it’s part of the playbook to alienate dissenters and “other” them.

            “And if we’re going to be honest, we have to acknowledge that a good deal of the angst is not about his “radicalism,” but because of twin fears: first, that “he’s not like us” – that is, he is not a white male patrician…”

            How many people do you think you speak for?

            “…and, second, the lurking fear that “he is like us” – that is, that this brown man of different heritages is increasingly representative of the population of the U.S.”

            Wow. I’m sure there are a few. But these were known factors. The uprisings against him were actually as expected considering how angry conservatives were about how Bush was treated. I would have expected the same kind of energy or more against ANY DP candidate. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how relatively tame it was.

            I think there are no good DP presidents from the past century if ever. I don’t hate the party so much as see it as a very myopic party that ideally is held in check by strong opposition. I accept that power has to pivot back and forth so I was actually not just anticipating a DP victory but WRT his ethnic background I thought that would be a plus. If we have to put up with the DP in the White House, at least there is something to celebrate.

            And his constituents were so energized when he won. Many expressed the concern that “the system” would not let it happen. So I thought we could all smile and start to heal from some of the persistent fears and accusations about “the system” and the true racists would see that competent people can spring from any DNA and any culture.

            When they started calling dissenters racists, I started to worry that we might not get anything positive out of this development.

            “I object to many things that Obama has done, but it’s not based on his ‘radical’ past or his concerns about inequality, which I consider valid, but about what I see as his hypocritical extension of the police powers of the state and his failure to follow through on promises of transparency. But that’s another topic for another day.”

            I share your concerns and I have others because I see others. The fact that you don’t see them doesn’t invalidate them. You have to accept that you might be missing some important information.

            For example it’s one thing to say “these economic indicators are not ideal…” and another thing entirely to attack indices from the perspective of class warfare pitting one “class” against another. Virtual classes that are constructed with paradigms developed by the troublemakers. It’s demagogic and dangerous. It leads OWS dupes – as just one example – in the wrong direction towards destructive paths to get what they think they want. And what they want usually isn’t even based on reality. Most people do realize that rainbows don’t terminate with big vats of gold bullion. They likewise need to learn where they’re demands are taking us. And when they break things to communicate those demands, you don’t get the gold and someone has to clean up the mess.

            Obama is pro-chaos. He actually thinks of that destruction as productive to some end. He’s delusional. And he’s not unique in that aspect of his character. He’s unique in the particular combination of attributes that got him elected and that help him rebuff criticism with helpers like you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Whose fault is it? Kennan. Stalin. Dulles. Are you kidding me? As arch-foes for much of the last century, there was very little desire or room for the development of the sort of serious economic interdependence that creates economic leverage. There’s no particular reason to expect that there would be exploitable economic leverage.”

            Every generation has the obligation to learn from the past rather than cite past mistakes merely to make our own mistakes look more acceptable.

            And the goal is not to have tools available to “control” the world. The goal is to have tools to exert influence when reasonable but also have options to remain resilient so that our entire national portfolio has fewer risks.

            Trying to decide what “we” should do now is pointless because tactics are adjusted as your rivals and enemies respond. Small fixes won’t do it unless those fixes also signal a new direction.

            We need an entirely new approach. I often feel that our citizens are just a little too ignorant to elect the kind of people we need.

          • hiernonymous

            I think you entirely missed the point. There isn’t a great deal of economic interaction between the states, not because politicians are reluctant to do so, but because historical circumstances led the businesses of each state in different directions. While there are certainly a few of our MNCs trying to do business in Russia, the relative interpenetration of the markets is negligible.

            As a result, when we talk about imposing sanctions or boycotts, there simply isn’t a great deal of potential effect. That’s not something that’s going to change as a result of a change in party in D.C. It’s been true through presidents and Congresses of both parties, and isn’t a function of faulty policy.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I think you entirely missed the point. There isn’t a great deal of economic interaction between the states, not because politicians are reluctant to do so, but because historical circumstances led the businesses of each state in different directions. While there are certainly a few of our MNCs trying to do business in Russia, the relative interpenetration of the markets is negligible.”

            Russia and America have a strategic interest in controlling or influencing energy markets. Additional direct trade would be great but I’m really pointing out that we are rivals in the same global markets.

            What I had in mind was at the very least anticipating what Russia might do and to protect our interests for these kinds of events.

            In other words, economic interdependence is one obvious factor to pay attention to but not the only one. And as a matter of fact there are lots of software programmers and engineers in Russia so even though that’s not what I had in mind, we could develop interdependence too over time. And even if that didn’t save us in 2014, that’s not an excuse to ignore making these kinds of efforts and plans.

            I’m not blaming any POTUS for any particular result but for their poor strategies that don’t manage risks intelligently. They’re not accountable for every bad result in the world but they are accountable for their own bad decisions.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Mosul did not fall because Obama was insufficiently resolute or warlike; it fell because the U.S. embarked on a military adventure in 2003 with no clear sense of what it hoped to accomplish or what the consequences might be, and the people of several countries have been trying to pick up the pieces ever since. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan, knocked the Taliban out of power, then proceeded to neglect the state for the next decade, offering neither serious nation-building support nor serious security support, running that war on a shoestring while dealing with the much bigger problem in Iraq. Now we have a resurgent Taliban, and apparently you want to blame Obama for not staying the course, though there was no course to stay.”

            Let’s agree in general that Bush had failures. Now he is replaced. Why do we accept that this replacement can always point to the guy that started it when his whole reason for running was the claim that he could do a BETTER job and what he did was make everything worse?

            So of course Obama can point to Bush. But really, it’s that kind of weak to do constantly? Did Truman blame Roosevelt when people were unhappy with what happened in Korea? He certainly could have.

            But the real question is how valid is it to blame Bush for his own decisions about pulling troops out or failing to cooperate with the Iraqi government of 2014?

            And just to show you how fair and reasonable I am, I didn’t blame Obama for Benghazi because he bombed the heck out of Qaddafi. I blamed him because his response was lame and he equivocated so much after the fact. Every aspect of his leadership is weak. Every aspect.

            My point is that ugly things will happen and we can always blame the guy before. But that’s a failure to understand the criticism because nobody is criticizing 44 for having no strongman there to hold the country together or because there’s a continuing insurgency. They’re blaming him for his poor performance.

            Bush didn’t blame Clinton for failing to deal strongly with jihadis during his entire term. I’m sure some people did feel that a stronger response earlier on would have probably prevented the WTC attacks but unfortunately most voters don’t support firm action until after some major tragic justification occurs.

            I also blame Obama because my feeling is that a DP president has more permission from the left to act decisively in situations we found ourselves in. Bush got bogged down because he cared too much about the dissent and it became self-fulfilling criticism. Obama could have adjusted but he simply doesn’t have the qualifications to fix it. His only choice is to let the wheels fall off and pull out the prepared “Blame Bush” narratives. Had Bush come back and won the presidential election as a Democrat, even he could have salvaged it. But instead we get a guy that just has no real interest in finishing the business that Bush started. And if Obama has been right it would have been a lot easier for him to come to terms with our Islamic foes. But that hasn’t been the case either.

            There’s no real way to defend the guy. And when a truly good or great president does come along and show how to fix it, then my views will be understood and vindicated. And if that doesn’t happen, America will slide in to decay and most of the world will continue to be worse off.

          • hiernonymous

            I think you missed the point of bringing up the Bush failure. It’s not a question of shifting blame, but of correctly identifying the appropriate path forward. I am pointing out that the approach you appear to be advocating, far from being a potential solution, was what created the situation to begin with.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I am pointing out that the approach you appear to be advocating, far from being a potential solution, was what created the situation to begin with.”

            The approach I favor is working with secular factions on how to include jihadis while ensuring they don’t outmaneuver the secularists at some point.

            Bush made a lot of tactical errors. They did not have to be fatal. And I actually think that having people marching in the streets and talking about how barbaric we are is a good way to encourage insurgents to keep up the fight.

            There’s plenty of blame to go around. And no, I’m not saying we should just blindly follow Bush’s path. I’m saying we should learn from all mistakes.

            The partisan divide in this country is killing us faster than anything else.

          • hiernonymous

            “Bush made a lot of tactical errors. They did not have to be fatal. And I actually think that having people marching in the streets and talking about how barbaric we are is a good way to encourage insurgents to keep up the fight.”

            If you mean marching here in the U.S., that’s the price you pay for free speech and participatory democracy. It’s absolutely essential that citizens be able to express dissatisfaction with war policies, and by definition, such expressions can always be said to “encourage” our enemies.

            For that matter, I imagine that open expressions of discontentment with the commander in chief encourages our enemies. Just imagine the Quetta Shura hearing that Americans want the president to resign – why, how heartening is that? Do you think we should shut down FPM until the wars are over?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “If you mean marching here in the U.S., that’s the price you pay for free speech and participatory democracy. It’s absolutely essential that citizens be able to express dissatisfaction with war policies, and by definition, such expressions can always be said to “encourage” our enemies.”

            Nothing ever said could lead anyone to believe that I think the path to building consensus is through limiting speech. Those protesters are the mere manifestation of underlying problems. And not only that but Bush did not have to react to them as he did. Like I said, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

            “For that matter, I imagine that open expressions of discontentment with the commander in chief encourages our enemies. Just imagine the Quetta Shura hearing that Americans want the president to resign – why, how heartening is that? Do you think we should shut down FPM until the wars are over?”

            No for several reasons. But again it’s just a visible manifestation of the underlying problems.

            And actually I think that having him resign would be disheartening to them because they’d know why. He’s as easy to play as Carter. I don’t think my criticism emboldens jihadis or any enemy in any way. I think it scares them in to thinking that we might grow smarter.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I think you might even find that if the stars aligned in all sorts of terrible ways, and the wildest-eyed of Islamist fanatics got his wish, and the Caliphate were established, that the world would muddle along.”

            It’s worth fighting for something better than “muddling along.” And as you know, I believe that MAD (as deterrent) does have limits. I don’t want to have proof that I’m right.

            “It’s hard not to notice that, after years of hearing the sermons about the terrible consequences of falling dominoes, it turns out that the security of the United States wasn’t materially affected by who was calling the shots in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City.”

            I think that analysis fails because we don’t have experiments to test what would have happened if A or B. We did fight back. Maybe the way that you understand the domino theory is the way that Marx predicted but my take was that the Soviets were puppet masters in many if not most cases. We did impede the Soviets and probably China to some degree.

            Again, that’s not to say that we did everything right in the “Cold” War (not always cold really). But just because we ended up OK is not to say that, gee, maybe we didn’t need to oppose them at all. That’s just silly.

            I think the real differences between you and I about how we see the world and the “what if” scenarios is that you greatly discount ideology as a driving factor for aggression. Of course it’s not the only one. We have to pay attention to all of the factors. We can’t just assume that there’s a right size for a happy and contented Caliphate. The ideology calls for them to expand when they can. The Turks were held back because we had the upper hand, not because they somehow “evolved.” I think it was probably the same with the Soviets as well. I don’t know about China’s plans for conquest but I think I’ve made my point.

          • hiernonymous

            I think that we can assume that there’s a right size for any political entity. Any time an entity has tried to overexpand, it has collapsed on itself. I think the prospect of a Caliphate is not terrible, not because I trust in the good intentions of those leading that hypothetical Caliphate, but because there’s nothing to indicate that the resources and people that would be contained therein would be able to do what the Russians, Germans, British, Turks, Mongols, French, Romans, and Assyrians could not.

            I also happen to think that handing the reins over to ideologues pulls the teeth of the ideology. Communism was a compelling force in the world for many years, and it ceased to be compelling, not because the Communists were out-argued or killed, but because the states founded on Communism failed so spectacularly to deliver on their promise. I think that the Ayatollahs would be out of power, or well on their way in that direction, in Iran, if the U.S. did not legitimize their rule by serving as the enemy the Ayatollahs insist we are. If we had a less irrational policy toward Iran, I think that Iran would in turn be more rational.

            We might not be able to ‘test’ the Domino Theory, but we do have this: the theory predicted that if South Vietnam fell, the security of the U.S. would be gravely damaged. South Vietnam fell, and the U.S. is still motoring along. You argue that perhaps by supporting Saigon, we delayed that fall in such a way as to avoid those terrible consequences, and perhaps that is so – but the theory didn’t predict that. Nothing about it suggested that “we just have to delay the collapse by a decade.”

            I agree that you and I see the role of ideology differently. I don’t entirely discount it, but I see it more as a channel for deeper motivations and impulses. It doesn’t really matter, for example, if a humiliated, angry, and revenge-thirsty Germany turned to fascism, communism, or druidism, as long as there was something to channel the hatred into effective action. In the Middle East, socialism was the go-to ideology of choice in the 1950s, and that has been discredited by the mechanism I described above. That leaves angry people looking for an alternative, and I argue that it is the actions of the West that have made secular democracy a relatively less attractive alternative. Our support for the House of Saud, for Mubarak, for Salah, have bred mistrust, and made religious paths relatively more attractive.

            The significance of this difference is that, by your outlook, if we could discredit or somehow change the religious ideology, the problem would more or less go away. In my viewpoint, if you could somehow change Islam, the people of the region would find a substitute. You won’t get peace there until you address the underlying structural problems. As supporting evidence, I offer Europe. Europe is stable and prosperous today, and many on this site would have us believe that this is because Europe is more civilized and has a more rational underlying ideology. But Europe tore itself to pieces in a series of the most savage wars the world has ever seen in the two centuries before it became such a showcase. No Muslim state, no Asian potentate, no African warlord has ever come close to the escalating orgies of destruction that Europe visited on itself and the world around it. We burned entire cities to the ground from the air, we turned slaughter into an industrial exercise, we created concentration camps, and we finally unleashed the power of the atom against our fellow man. By any objective standard, we were the most violent barbarians the world ever saw – and yet, today, we are relatively peaceful and complacent. Why is that? Our ideology today isn’t significantly different from what it was in 1870. Christianity is still Christianity, the Enlightenment had already come and gone. But today Europe is rich, and rich people are peaceful. If you are right, then Europe will be peaceful as long as it hews to its current ideologies. If I’m right, Europe will be peaceful only so long as it is prosperous. Let Europe suffer another Great Depression, and we’ll have our laboratory to see who’s right.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I think that we can assume that there’s a right size for any political entity.”

            That goes without saying.

            “I think the prospect of a Caliphate is not terrible, not because I trust in the good intentions of those leading that hypothetical Caliphate, but because there’s nothing to indicate that the resources and people that would be contained therein would be able to do what the Russians, Germans, British, Turks, Mongols, French, Romans, and Assyrians could not.”

            I think you’re wrong. It’s worse than enabling the Soviets. But if you must understand it that way, think of them as religious Soviets that are operating on a theory that they won’t be “whole” until the whole world us under “communist” (sharia) domination.

            And we know that as technology marches forward, anyone is capable of reaching further in spreading ideas, coordinating attacks, blowing things up according to a commander located anywhere else, surgical targeting or massive destruction any of which can come from weapons carried in a suitcase…come on man. Anyone operating today has a better chance of ruling the world than anyone that came earlier (all other factors aside from technology being equal). It’s just that simple.

          • hiernonymous

            How do you explain the collapse of the Ottoman Empire if you attribute such mystical power to Muslim ideology? Ataturk’s reforms were a visceral rejection of the failures of religious government.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “How do you explain the collapse of the Ottoman Empire if you attribute such mystical power to Muslim ideology?”

            There are no mystical powers that work in the material world. Ideas and ideology are used as a framework to organize ritual, projects and societies. Yet they still are dependent on material realities. I never said anything to the contrary.

            “Ataturk’s reforms were a visceral rejection of the failures of religious government.”

            I don’t know why you feel the need to read Ataturk’s mind. But even if it was a visceral rejection, it means he rejected overt use of Islam to organize society. That’s all it means.

            There were Muslim thinkers from the past that suggested some of the problems were caused by trying to apply sharia to everything. I’m sure in every generation there are people that understand and believe that assessment. The problem is that Islam’s ideological framework has a way (or many ways) for dealing with apostasy that somehow manage to purge the reformers before they forge any kind of viable reformation movement. What changes are circumstances, including technology.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I also happen to think that handing the reins over to ideologues pulls the teeth of the ideology. Communism was a compelling force in the world for many years, and it ceased to be compelling, not because the Communists were out-argued or killed, but because the states founded on Communism failed so spectacularly to deliver on their promise.”

            Well yes and no. Yes if you make material promises you eventually have to deliver on those promises. And if you make ideological promises and mess up peoples lives, some people will become more concerned about material need. That’s a factor that won’t necessarily save us. And given their proximity to vast natural resources, I wouldn’t bank on the idea that the Caliph is going to have people rebelling against Islam because they’re hungry. It takes a lot of incompetence to get people to rebel against Islamic rulers that are seen as legitimate. Look at the Sauds.

            And how can jihadis “fail” to deliver on the ideological promise of heavenly rewards? They either believe or they don’t.

            Plus you’ve got the fact that communism failed earlier because we opposed its expansion. Had we just shrugged our shoulders things would be a lot worse today in many ways. So this wait and see thing is not realistic when you start tolling the costs.

            “I think that the Ayatollahs would be out of power, or well on their way in that direction, in Iran, if the U.S. did not legitimize their rule by serving as the enemy the Ayatollahs insist we are. If we had a less irrational policy toward Iran, I think that Iran would in turn be more rational.”

            The best you could hope for is a Saud-run caliphate. And there is reason to believe that the Saudis would like to see a global caliphate of some form. You’re not being realistic about the risks at all.

            Iran will not become “more rational” until there is regime change. I doubt that will happen as they feel more threatened by the Sunni caliphate.

            The only possible “winning” scenario is that if they feel just as threatened by the Sunnis as they are by us, they will feel like they have no winning offensive strategy. So maybe the Sunnis can contain the Iranian regime, but who will contain the Sunnis?

            The Iranians won’t care so much about Islam expanding in American, Asia and Europe. Maybe they will care but as long as they can hold back the Sunnis with a WMD threat of some kind I think they’ll become “rational” but the Sunni threat will still be greater than ever.

            There are lots of possible scenarios but none of them are good And I mean none. There is no sensible reason for us to be this unconcerned.

            I’m not being unrealistic. I’m not saying we must stop them at all costs, up to and including offensive nuclear attacks. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that in any scenario that I can imagine, the costs are lower to stop or impede them now than in acting as we are now on the present course that we have been on since WWI – out of ignorance.

            We have to oppose them by clearly distinguishing between religious freedom and religious freedom to violate human rights. That’s one thing. And that includes the right for us to say things that offend them.

          • hiernonymous

            “It takes a lot of incompetence to get people to rebel against Islamic rulers that are seen as legitimate. Look at the Sauds.”

            Okay, let’s look at the Sauds. For starters, Saudi Arabia is one of the most significant sources of recruits to Islamist extremist groups. I think you overestimate the religious awe in which the protectors of the Haramein are held.

            Second, Saudi Arabia was the textbook rentier state. With the discovery and exploitation of oil, the traditional needs-based bond between ruler and ruled was broken. Most rulers, even the most despotic rulers, rely on their people to produce the means by which the rulers rule. Taxes must be paid, factories run, etc. But in a rentier state, this dynamic is corrupted. In Saudi Arabia, the people were not necessary. They were there, and had to be taken care of, but they were not needed, so they had almost no influence on the government. For many years, the population was small enough, and the oil wealth great enough, that enough money could be shared around to keep the people content. It was that dynamic, not religious awe, that kept discontent in check for as long as it did. But demographics are not Saudi Arabia’s friend, and the combination of the youth bulge, an indulged population that has never had a strong reason to develop the necessary educational and workplace skills to really run an economy, and you have millions of very young, very bored, and no-longer-rich young men who want more out of life. Saudi Arabia is a ticking time bomb, and its neighbors know it. Ask them in public who they are afraid of, and they’ll finger Iran. Ask them in private, and they’ll look south, or west, as the case may be.

            You touch on something important, though, when you say “Islamic rulers that are seen as legitimate.” I think that Muslims are very much like Christians in that they expect, rightly or wrongly, that a religious man will be less corrupt and more dependable than a non-religious man. After decades of jaw-dropping corruption on the part of both monarchical and Arab socialist regimes, people are ready to give religious governance a chance, not because of ideology, but out of hopes that such regimes would be more just. That’s the dynamic that swept Hamas into power in Palestine (well, that swept the elections, and got them into power in the Gaza half of Palestine). It’s not that people suddenly got radicalized, or were endorsing terror, or anything like that. They were just tired of the cynically open corruption of the Fatah leadership, so they registered a protest vote. Israel and the U.S., of course, overreacted, and turned this into yet another crisis.

            “And how can jihadis “fail” to deliver on the ideological promise of heavenly rewards? They either believe or they don’t.”

            You suggested that I wasn’t looking at my history closely enough; allow me to return the favor. There’s precedent for this. For starters, there’s the Ottoman Empire, which after decades of publicly failing to keep pace with the rest of Europe, had its young elites openly questioning the legitimacy of the model. Ataturk’s reforms are legendary. That’s one example of how a religious government fails to deliver.

            Did communism fail earlier because we opposed its expansion? It’s possible. It’s also possible that such opposition gave it new life. It’s hard to see how the Kim dynasty could hold on in North Korea without the specter of foreign invasion to justify the hardships endured by the population. Cuba is the only other surviving communist state – in any real sense – and, again, it was the target of the toughest U.S. opposition. I’m not arguing that the Soviets shouldn’t have been opposed – Europe would have been a greyer and duller place had we not been prepared to defend West Germany – but don’t take too much about containment as a given.

            “We have to oppose them by clearly distinguishing between religious freedom and religious freedom to violate human rights. That’s one thing. And that includes the right for us to say things that offend them.”

            I don’t disagree with that, but it’s not much of a platform.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Okay, let’s look at the Sauds. For starters, Saudi Arabia is one of the most significant sources of recruits to Islamist extremist groups. I think you overestimate the religious awe in which the protectors of the Haramein are held.”

            No I don’t. But I’m noticing that the remedy for what makes them angry is almost always to attack infidels rather than attacking the sovereign. Most who are angry would like the Sauds to do more for jihad, not ease up on sharia. Though I know there are a few secular or quasi-secular dissidents. They have such little impact.

            “Second, Saudi Arabia was the textbook rentier state. With the discovery and exploitation of oil, the traditional needs-based bond between ruler and ruled was broken. Most rulers, even the most despotic rulers, rely on their people to produce the means by which the rulers rule. Taxes must be paid, factories run, etc. But in a rentier state, this dynamic is corrupted. In Saudi Arabia, the people were not necessary. They were there, and had to be taken care of, but they were not needed, so they had almost no influence on the government.”

            I agree. And yet they followed an Islamic framework to build legitimacy and they seem pretty secure in their place from where I sit.

            “For many years, the population was small enough, and the oil wealth great enough, that enough money could be shared around to keep the people content. It was that dynamic, not religious awe, that kept discontent in check for as long as it did. But demographics are not Saudi Arabia’s friend, and the combination of the youth bulge, an indulged population that has never had a strong reason to develop the necessary educational and workplace skills to really run an economy, and you have millions of very young, very bored, and no-longer-rich young men who want more out of life. Saudi Arabia is a ticking time bomb, and its neighbors know it. Ask them in public who they are afraid of, and they’ll finger Iran. Ask them in private, and they’ll look south, or west, as the case may be.”

            OK. I’m not seeing the relevance yet. How does this undermine my statements about ideological framework guiding how people seek to solve their material needs even if subconsciously?

            “You touch on something important, though, when you say “Islamic rulers that are seen as legitimate.” I think that Muslims are very much like Christians in that they expect, rightly or wrongly, that a religious man will be less corrupt and more dependable than a non-religious man. After decades of jaw-dropping corruption on the part of both monarchical and Arab socialist regimes, people are ready to give religious governance a chance, not because of ideology, but out of hopes that such regimes would be more just.”

            Yes, technology has enabled more “organic” democracy than every before. But still, apostates can be killed and Islam is still a very powerful political tool and framework to make the kind of decisions that lead to ugliness. And injustice as we define it and most in the rest of the world would.

            “You suggested that I wasn’t looking at my history closely enough; allow me to return the favor. There’s precedent for this. For starters, there’s the Ottoman Empire, which after decades of publicly failing to keep pace with the rest of Europe, had its young elites openly questioning the legitimacy of the model. Ataturk’s reforms are legendary. That’s one example of how a religious government fails to deliver.”

            They fail materially. If some believers wake up because of that, it will make me happy but it doesn’t mean ipso facto that anyone has come up with compelling arguments to rectify the core ideological problems. They can return in other people. It just means certain people became apostates for certain reasons or lost confidence in the state but not in jihad.

            “Did communism fail earlier because we opposed its expansion? It’s possible. It’s also possible that such opposition gave it new life.”

            Of course it’s dynamic. But the problem is that communism and Islam both depend on belief in the unseen. Communists believe that capitalists “suck the wealth” out of “the globe” or “the economy” and can always be villainized. Jihadis believe that infidels are to be corrected and ruled by them and that they are at risk if they fail to do so when the opportunity arises. Just leaving them alone can still be dangerous if we don’t pay attention to what’s happening.

            I think that of course everyone uses opposition moves to rally the home team. But you don’t win by running away. You have to be conscious of the effects of what you do and adjust accordingly. That is not at all the same thing as saying that you can win by refusing to oppose or that you can even avoid losing by refusing to oppose. It’s not always true and in some cases, failing to oppose means giving up your existing way of life.

            “I don’t disagree with that, but it’s not much of a platform.”

            Not on its own, but it’s still a crucial key.

          • hiernonymous

            “No I don’t. But I’m noticing that the remedy for what makes them angry is almost always to attack infidels rather than attacking the sovereign. ”

            Actually, that hasn’t been true for years. The royals in Saudi Arabia once turned a blind eye to terrorism support because they assumed that it wouldn’t hit them at home. Then it began hitting them at home, and the Saudis jumped on the counter-terror bandwagon in a big way.

            In fact, what made OBL such a big deal was his break with the traditional, Qutb-inspired formulation of attacking the near enemy (the local sovereign) before taking on the far enemy (Israel and the West). The old view was that the caliphate had to be won and consolidated before the West could be confronted. OBL argued that confronting the West immediately would accelerate the establishment of the Caliphate.

            “OK. I’m not seeing the relevance yet. How does this undermine my statements about ideological framework guiding how people seek to solve their material needs even if subconsciously?”

            You had suggested that the dynasty in Saudia was secure by virtue of its religious legitimacy. I’m showing you how material considerations have thoroughly undermined that legitimacy.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You had suggested that the dynasty in Saudia was secure by virtue of its religious legitimacy. I’m showing you how material considerations have thoroughly undermined that legitimacy.”

            The controversy in Saudi Arabia is over tactics. The regime doesn’t have credibility among jihadis who want more aggression, not less. Is this a threat to the existence of the regime? I don’t think so. They’re very savvy politicians.

            The narratives that they’re telling the jihadis is that the better tactic is to use a stealth approach to jihad. That certainly favors us relative to the maniacal jihadis but we’ve got to be open-eyed about the short-term and long-term implications. Because they are still supporting terror but in less obvious ways. But it still gives us breathing room and we’ve got to use it wisely.

          • hiernonymous

            I would suggest that you seriously underestimate the nature and extent of dissatisfaction in Saudi Arabia. The regime isn’t simply viewed as not aggressive enough – it’s seen as corrupt, despotic, and non-Islamic. The days are long since past when the royals could be counted on to turn an indulgent blind eye to extremist activity that was, they assumed, going to be directed abroad. The turning point from the extremist perspective was probably 1990, when the House of Saud decided to allow U.S. military forces to stage out of the Kingdom for its attack on Kuwait. The turning point from the government’s perspective was probably 2004, when AQ launched a series of attacks in the Kingdom that included direct attacks on the MoI building and assassination attempts against Saudi royals. . Muhammad bin Nayif, for example, was targeted no fewer than four times between 2004 and 2010.

            This isn’t a dispute over tactics, it’s an existential struggle between the House of Saud and AQAP. The Saudis have the upper hand in this struggle at the moment, which is why Yemen has become such a hotbed, as much of the AQ structure in place in Saudi Arabia fled from the escalating Saudi counter-terror campaigns. But, as I noted earlier, demographics and time are on the side of the regime’s opponents.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I would suggest that you seriously underestimate the nature and extent of dissatisfaction in Saudi Arabia. The regime isn’t simply viewed as not aggressive enough – it’s seen as corrupt, despotic, and non-Islamic.”

            It’s possible my estimates aren’t accurate. But it’s also possible that others are misreading the indices. The dissenters certainly have the ability to project their voices like never before. That I’m aware of. I’m just not sure how significant that is in terms of actually threatening the stability of the state.

            And most of the militants complain that the Sauds are “not Islamic” because they’re too soft on infidels like the USA and Israel. And the the regime is pretty sophisticated about communicating different messages to us than they do to the serious jihadis. How effective is that? My evaluations could be wrong.

            “The days are long since past when the royals could be counted on to turn an indulgent blind eye to extremist activity that was, they assumed, going to be directed abroad. The turning point from the extremist perspective was probably 1990, when the House of Saud decided to allow U.S. military forces to stage out of the Kingdom for its attack on Kuwait. The turning point from the government’s perspective was probably 2004, when AQ launched a series of attacks in the Kingdom that included direct attacks on the MoI building and assassination attempts against Saudi royals. . Muhammad bin Nayif, for example, was targeted no fewer than four times between 2004 and 2010.”

            The heat has been on the regime every since the founder formed his nation and solidified the borders in order to make peace with outsiders. They’ve been dancing this fine line since the beginning. And it got worse every time the Sauds were seen as not doing enough about Israel and so forth.

            I don’t see these as new issues. I see these as issues that have more visibility now, and yes, the activists are caught up in the international jihad momentum, but all tolled I think the regime is winning the balancing act if not winning hearts and minds the way that Western analysts like to see.

            “This isn’t a dispute over tactics, it’s an existential struggle between the House of Saud and AQAP. The Saudis have the upper hand in this struggle at the moment, which is why Yemen has become such a hotbed, as much of the AQ structure in place in Saudi Arabia fled from the escalating Saudi counter-terror campaigns. But, as I noted earlier, demographics and time are on the side of the regime’s opponents.”

            The momentum right now is on the side of those that oppose the infidel. But that’s not local phenomenon only.

            Again it’s not so much that we disagree about much, it’s how we read the events because you greatly discount the underlying ideology factors that drive how particular groups seek to solve material needs and wants. And if you think that I overstate it, it’s because I haven’t managed to make myself clear.

            If something happened that was widely reported and accepted throughout the world that discredited Islam and its fundamental claims, most of these jihadis would turn away from violence and look for other ways to deal with their problems. Maybe not on a permanent basis, but temporarily. Those that simply have a criminal nature would turn to crime but they’d have a harder time recruiting thousands of cohorts for a bank robbery jihad or whatever. It would still happen some times because they would not be absent of all cultural influences but they’d have less ability to muster resources because their greatest unifying ideological framework would be gone.

            And over time as new generations came forth, these people more and more would see Western ideas as less threatening and more valuable. They’d become more like us.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “In fact, what made OBL such a big deal was his break with the traditional, Qutb-inspired formulation of attacking the near enemy (the local sovereign) before taking on the far enemy (Israel and the West). The old view was that the caliphate had to be won and consolidated before the West could be confronted. OBL argued that confronting the West immediately would accelerate the establishment of the Caliphate.”

            And the regime disagreed on tactics. The regime is not stupid. And the near enemy would only be the local sovereign in “non-Islamic nations.” Of course there’s no agreed upon litmus test for that. But the Saudis have more credibility than any other regime in the modern era. Since the Ottoman Empire at least.

          • hiernonymous

            “And the near enemy would only be the local sovereign in “non-Islamic nations.” ”

            No,no, no, not at all. That was one of Qutb’s most significant innovations, and one that runs counter to standard Muslim doctrine. In a nutshell: jahiliya literally means “ignorance,” and in traditional Islam is the name given to the historical era preceding the Prophet. Qutb argued that jahiliya was not a historical period but a state of being, and that one who professed to be a Muslim could nonetheless be in a state of jahiliya, and therefore actually not a Muslim. It was this bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand that allows Muslim terrorists to target Muslims, and it was the necessary doctrinal foundation for Qutb’s focus on the “near enemy,” who, in his case, was Gamal abd al Nasser. AQAP uses this principle to target the House of Saud which, while it may have more religious credibility than any other regime in the modern era, doesn’t have enough to keep it out of the crosshairs of the terrorists.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Qutb argued that jahiliya was not a historical period but a state of being, and that one who professed to be a Muslim could nonetheless be in a state of jahiliya, and therefore actually not a Muslim.”

            Qutb obviously considered Egypt to be takfir and illegitimate. He probably thought the same about Saudi Arabia in his time. But my point was that a Saudi subject some many decades after Qutb died would still have to go through the process of making that determination with confidence that the Sauds are not legitimate Muslims before he launched or joined in attacks. It’s one thing to say in theory but another thing to act on it. And although I do think Qutb was making legitimate arguments in terms of following Islamic framework. Which is kind of sad. But in any case, I think before committing oneself that it might cause some significant pause for a Saudi subject, especially since it seems to me that the Saudis have done quite a bit in the interim to respond to at least some of the concerns of the ultra-pious, including jihadis.

            I think that it’s easy to say that Nasser was takfir but a lot harder to say that about the Saudis.

          • hiernonymous

            I submit that the fourth attempt on bin Nayif’s life by Islamists suggests that “a lot harder” is overstating the case. Clearly, it has and is happening.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            That again does not contradict what I’m saying. I said it’s a lot harder. I didn’t say it’s hard to envision anyone would use Qutb’s updates (or anyone else’s modern take) to justify attacking the Sauds. I doubt it will go “viral” but I could be wrong. And if it does, I’ll consider material factors as well.

            My main point: Qutb is just drawing conclusions that many other Muslims throughout history have. He has updated rhetoric and context, but he’s still working within an Islamic framework in my analysis. I don’t think he invented anything truly new. The Islamic framework is actually pretty “liberal” with regard to how Muslims interpret certain justifications for violence and war.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “We might not be able to ‘test’ the Domino Theory, but we do have this: the theory predicted that if South Vietnam fell, the security of the U.S. would be gravely damaged. South Vietnam fell, and the U.S. is still motoring along. You argue that perhaps by supporting Saigon, we delayed that fall in such a way as to avoid those terrible consequences, and perhaps that is so – but the theory didn’t predict that. Nothing about it suggested that “we just have to delay the collapse by a decade.””

            The idea was that if we generally speaking don’t oppose the spread of communism that the momentum established will be a grave threat. Win or lose, we made them pay and established a “market price” for their expansion. We opposed their momentum and impacted it.

            They then pivoted to some degree towards ramping up propaganda and working to co-opt Western leftist movements to make us weaker from the inside since it was an important factor in their relative success in Vietnam.

            The domino theory itself was not invalidated. It’s caricatures were.

          • hiernonymous

            The theory was actually pretty specific about the consequences of the fall of Vietnam: communist governments in Thailand, Burma, and Indonesia.

            You seem to be echoing Rostow’s argument that the war bought time for the other states to develop to the point that they could resist communism. (I actually teach Rostow’s theory on development in one if my classes.). I see a few problems with the whole premise, though. First, Indonesia crushed its communists just as the war was heating up; the Indonesian domino was going to fall before 1964 if it was going to fall at all. Second, the monolithic communist threat went cannibalistic in a big hurry. It’s hard to see subsequent dominoes falling while the Russians were fighting the Chinese, the Vietnamese fighting the Cambodians, and the Chinese fighting the Vietnamese.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The theory was actually pretty specific about the consequences of the fall of Vietnam: communist governments in Thailand, Burma, and Indonesia.”

            If we didn’t oppose them or they won too easily. If we don’t resist them sufficiently.

            We didn’t “win” precisely as we’d hoped but we didn’t lose either because we stopped or slowed the momentum. And that was the key to the strategy.

            They weren’t literally dominoes sitting next to each other with communist leaders ready to run and pick them up after they fell in a sequences that lasted about one second. The theory was not validated or invalidated. Analyzing complex scenarios is never quite that precise.

            And the reason you brought it up is because you want to draw equivalence with today’s concerns about Sunni coalitions. Well, those that suggested some kind of momentum working against us were right so far, now weren’t they?

            I don’t personally recall mentioning dominoes wrt Islam. But there is something we can call momentum that counts in virtually all social activities. I forget what some of the old sayings are. But success breeds feelings of confidence and all of that.

            The leftist “self-esteem” narratives are such bullshit. “If we just let them win over there, they’ll be satisfied.”

            Please give me a break. What nonsense.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You seem to be echoing Rostow’s argument that the war bought time for the other states to develop to the point that they could resist communism. (I actually teach Rostow’s theory on development in one if my classes.). I see a few problems with the whole premise, though. First, Indonesia crushed its communists just as the war was heating up; the Indonesian domino was going to fall before 1964 if it was going to fall at all. Second, the monolithic communist threat went cannibalistic in a big hurry. It’s hard to see subsequent dominoes falling while the Russians were fighting the Chinese, the Vietnamese fighting the Cambodians, and the Chinese fighting the Vietnamese.”

            That’s why we did it but it was obviously not the only effort. Of course we didn’t bank everything on Vietnam and “Stop the dominoes so we win!” We had efforts throughout the world.

            Most reasonable answers are only controversial when presented as being the single explanation. Again, the world is far more complicated than that.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “First, Indonesia crushed its communists just as the war was heating up; the Indonesian domino was going to fall before 1964 if it was going to fall at all. Second, the monolithic communist threat went cannibalistic in a big hurry.”

            That’s what really happens when communists meet Muslims head on.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The significance of this difference is that, by your outlook, if we could discredit or somehow change the religious ideology, the problem would more or less go away. In my viewpoint, if you could somehow change Islam, the people of the region would find a substitute.”

            You need to study the Renaissance and Christian or Protestant Reformation more carefully.

            “As supporting evidence, I offer Europe. Europe is stable and prosperous today, and many on this site would have us believe that this is because Europe is more civilized and has a more rational underlying ideology. But Europe tore itself to pieces in a series of the most savage wars the world has ever seen in the two centuries before it became such a showcase.”

            It was a slow, drawn out revolution (or series of revolutions and battles) because the Protestant schism enabled a secular schism. This secular dependence on the Protestant reformation is the most significant factor that you seem to miss. Traditions die slowly. Once the ideals are laid out and ideology starts to change, traditions can then be challenged. In Europe that took at long time and it is not finished.

            “No Muslim state, no Asian potentate, no African warlord has ever come close to the escalating orgies of destruction that Europe visited on itself and the world around it. We burned entire cities to the ground from the air, we turned slaughter into an industrial exercise, we created concentration camps, and we finally unleashed the power of the atom against our fellow man. By any objective standard, we were the most violent barbarians the world ever saw – and yet, today, we are relatively peaceful and complacent. Why is that? Our ideology today isn’t significantly different from what it was in 1870.”

            Because the factions had and have superior weapons and communications technologies. Of course the violence is intensified. And we’re a little biased about where we focus our lens some times. But mostly it’s about all factors combined, not which factor is dominant. Ideology matters, and so do all of the material factors. We held more power and believed we had a greater ability to envision a “greater good” result.

            And our ideology is significantly different than in 1870 because of mass communication. Demagoguery is that much more effective. People can react immediately to a spoken word or offensive video in real time. Things have changed because the way that we lead changes. And most people use ideology or group values as tools. Personal belief just doesn’t matter in group behavior until we see how it maps out. Core fundamental statements of values might not have changed. But in reality all of these seemingly external factors change everything in how these ideologies effect societies.

            “Christianity is still Christianity, the Enlightenment had already come and gone. But today Europe is rich, and rich people are peaceful. If you are right, then Europe will be peaceful as long as it hews to its current ideologies.”

            But all of this is far more complex and dynamic than you’ve described it. You’re looking at historical events without understanding enough of the connections, dependencies and aftermath of significant “major” historical events.

            A big part of driving true progress in technology and human development is being able to accurately predict consequences of one’s actions. That is why having accurate models or paradigms to understand historical events and what drove the actors is crucial to government leadership. We still have a lot of problems accurately predicting consequences because we have unresolved controversies in how to formulate those predictions.

            My models and paradigms don’t ignore anything relevant. Mine are more complex. That’s why I have confidence in my views when people disagree with me while ignoring relevant complexities.

            “If I’m right, Europe will be peaceful only so long as it is prosperous. Let Europe suffer another Great Depression, and we’ll have our laboratory to see who’s right.”

            But it’s relative prosperity and it’s flawed ideologies are attracting parasites and aggressors that want to siphon and reap that prosperity. You say that aggression or even an image of great power attracts or encourages aggression and some times it does. Prosperity some times encourages aggression. That’s not an argument against prosperity but it is an argument in favor of more sophisticated risk analysis.

            It’s not that you’re entirely wrong. You’re just not “right enough” because you disregard significant factors.

          • hiernonymous

            “You need to study the Renaissance and Christian or Protestant Reformation more carefully.”

            I don’t think so. People adopt ideologies that suit their needs with some alacrity. Religion doesn’t generally get in the way. Millions of good Christian Germans managed to reconcile their faith with National Socialism when the latter filled a need, then discovered that National Socialism and Christianity were not so compatible when their national catharsis had run its course. Islam was central to the Turks, then it wasn’t, then it started creeping back in toward the center. My point has nothing to do with how easy it would be to change Islam, and everything to do with how easy it would be to slip a supplementary ideology into the void if Islam somehow ceased to serve its purpose.

            And let’s do look at Christianity and Europe. Prior to the Reformation, the struggle between secular and religious power was pretty straightforward, and when the elites found it necessary to mobilize popular support (either “popular” among the nobility, or, less often, among the masses), a religious justification was readily forthcoming. I believe we’ve talked before about, say, the Crusades, not just against Islam, but against French heretics and in Northern and Eastern Europe. Cue the Reformation, and the ensuing power struggle and bloodbath, climaxing in the 30 Years’ War, certainly opens doors to secularism and rational challenges to revealed truth. This isn’t a ten-volume history book, so there’s no reasonable expectation of completeness, but as the central role of Christianity as mobilizing ideology fades, others rise to take its place. There’s notably nationalism, which had been lurking about in nascent form since at least the 100 Years’ War, but really came into its own on the downslope of the Enlightenment with the Napoleonic Wars (I was just quoting Clausewitz in another thread, for another purpose). The Enlightenment gives us liberalism and a more conscious capitalism; the industrial revolution gives us communism; the czars give us anarchism; the Great War gives us Fascism; until, by 1930, there’s a wonderful smorgasbord of ideologies among which the disaffected can choose. Did each of them have a particular history? Of course. But, for example, when the masses of Germany found themselves destitute, hungry, unemployed, and humiliated, they weren’t choosy. Communist, Socialist, Fascist – any port in a storm, and the heart of the matter is that it is the storm, not the port, that inspires the problem.

            That’s not supposed to be a comprehensive examination of world history for the past 300 years, and you may be the first person on the boards to accuse me of leaving too much out. There’s enough there to discuss and make the idea clear. Consider the case of Islam. If you’re right, then Islam is an ideology and is the root cause of difficulties in the region. The Muslim world is in chaos, not because of the colonial legacy, competition for control of oil wealth, the accident of geography that places them at the crossroads of every major civilization in the world – none of that is deterministic, it’s the ideology. This suggests that the appropriate course of action is to combat the ideology. It’s not really clear what this might mean. Convert them to other religions? Re-write the Qur’an to cut out the objectionable bits? At any rate, the implied prescription is to break the link between Islam and individual. Absent that, the cancer remains. Succeed in that, and the cancer is cured.

            On the other hand, if the root causes are material and psychological, if they are rooted in the history, geography, and sociology of the region, then a prescription based on attacking the religion would be the most counterproductive approach one could conceive. It would be just one more bit of cultural imperialism aimed at subjugating Muslim culture. It would inspire resistance and, more importantly, there would be no payoff for any hypothetical success. Further, by refusing to acknowledge any of the structural components to the problem, the roots would just grow deeper.

            “My models and paradigms don’t ignore anything relevant.”

            Then you haven’t mentioned the parts of your models and paradigms that account for demographics, for colonial history, for the impact of rentier economics, for geography, for repeated modern military interventionism, for Cold War legacy, for the role of Israel, etc. I don’t think I’m disregarding significant factors, I simply think that when it comes to the role of ideology, you have the cart before the horse. Ideologies come to the fore to meet the needs and moods of the times; they don’t create the needs and moods of the time.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I don’t think so. People adopt ideologies that suit their needs with some alacrity. Religion doesn’t generally get in the way. Millions of good Christian Germans managed to reconcile their faith with National Socialism when the latter filled a need, then discovered that National Socialism and Christianity were not so compatible when their national catharsis had run its course. Islam was central to the Turks, then it wasn’t, then it started creeping back in toward the center. ”

            You understood my position as claiming that religion drives everything and trumps all? I never said that. It’s like you don’t want to follow that part of the conversation.

            “My point has nothing to do with how easy it would be to change Islam, and everything to do with how easy it would be to slip a supplementary ideology into the void if Islam somehow ceased to serve its purpose.”

            Ideologies are not fungible. Where did you get the idea that they were? You seem to think that materialism drives everything and that ideology is an irrelevant set of justifications for decisions that would be made regardless of ideology.

            How did Martin Luther overcome the RCC? Not the Marxist explanations, the objective and comprehensive explanations. You think that Europe would be the same today if Buddha has been the one killed by the Romans 2000 years ago? Seriously?

            Ideology is like picking the color of one’s suit. It really doesn’t matter, you just have to put something on. That’s how you treat ideology. I don’t’ see how you could be so glib about it.

            The idea is not to make a perfect society or a society exactly like ours. The idea is to say that you’ve got a bunch of ideas that leads people to murder while blaming the victims of your schemes. And we can show you reasons why these ideas should be regarded as false and FU if you think we should hold our tongues merely because you’re offended by our assertions.

            Why shouldn’t Islam today be held up to the same scrutiny that every other religious belief is held up to? And don’t tell me that it is.

            And the reason that it’s not is that virtually every social scientist classifies Islam (or Muslims) as a “victim group.” Therefore the problem is not that Islam is significantly different than Christianity or anything else but that Muslims are oppressed by Christians.

            Capitalist Christians (and Jew bankers) oppress everyone else. There will never be peace in the world until we solve social justice problems. Most of these problems are caused by greed of the oppressors and this position of power came from historic abuses of the church that enriched this class of oppressors. How the Jews got rich unfairly, I’m not quite sure. I guess they supposedly got rich just because they’re somehow subhuman vermin AND capable of oppressing the humans.

            It’s all pretty irrational when you really look at the whole thing objectively. But if you’re programmed to think like this from a young age and you swallow it bit by bit, it’s hard to shake off this neo-Marxist ideology that dominates our institutions.

            Ironically your denial of the importance of ideology is a result of ideological indoctrination.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s not supposed to be a comprehensive examination of world history for the past 300 years, and you may be the first person on the boards to accuse me of leaving too much out.”

            The point is that you’re avoiding an examination of what the ideas were that people rallied beyond and how this vision of many centuries ago was realized and that we live according to the vision of our founding fathers and the ideas that inspired them.

            You need more than materialistic explanations for that. And that’s not saying you need “mysterious” explanations. It’s saying that ideas matter, and it matters how confident people are that those ideas are true. Material circumstances will always matter to mortals. There’s no denying that. But the ideological framework that people use to organize society matters a lot.

            And it’s not to say that following a given ideology will result in some clearly predictable result. But it’s possible that you can predict some values and some general tendencies in the behaviors of those societies. As one example, people that believe as a society that God doesn’t want summary executions are going to place a high importance on due process.

            And that is the evidence that you ignore. You or anyone else can obviously spend an entire lifetime reviewing history from a materialistic perspective. That’s not doing anything to answer the questions and suggestions I’m showing you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The Muslim world is in chaos, not because of the colonial legacy, competition for control of oil wealth, the accident of geography that places them at the crossroads of every major civilization in the world – none of that is deterministic, it’s the ideology. This suggests that the appropriate course of action is to combat the ideology. It’s not really clear what this might mean.”

            Show them that we do not accept it and we do not apologize for rejecting it. That’s a very good start.

            “Convert them to other religions?”

            We allow them all of the freedoms we enjoy. Including the freedom to hear or to run away from people that offend them. NOt the freedom to play victim when their feelings get hurt or to be treated with “cultural sensitivity” when considering crime and punishment.

            “Re-write the Qur’an to cut out the objectionable bits?”

            Nope. You rebut it head on.

            “At any rate, the implied prescription is to break the link between Islam and individual. Absent that, the cancer remains. Succeed in that, and the cancer is cured.”

            Individuals must choose on their own. What we’ve got to do is keep them from imposing their religious values on us when it violates our rights and our vital interests. And we’ve got to stop apologizing when we do that.

            And that is one huge reason why I was so disappointed in Obama from so early on. I was disappointed because he could have used a sweet and sour approach but he was all sugar and all “Blame the oppressor, damn the facts” with the jihadis. Bush didn’t get it right but 44 made it worse. And then we had started to have proxies denounce dissenters as racists. I was shocked. He was going “sweet sweet” on Islam and “sour sour” on anyone that opposed his radical leftist agenda. He came calling himself a uniter as he endeavored to divide and conquer.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Then you haven’t mentioned the parts of your models and paradigms that account for demographics, for colonial history, for the impact of rentier economics, for geography, for repeated modern military interventionism, for Cold War legacy, for the role of Israel, etc.”

            It’s a waste of time to come up with a laundry list of everything that we agree on.

            “I don’t think I’m disregarding significant factors, I simply think that when it comes to the role of ideology, you have the cart before the horse. Ideologies come to the fore to meet the needs and moods of the times; they don’t create the needs and moods of the time.”

            I’ll try this again. Material explanations are needed for most motives. But when someone decides to act on a need, he has a huge, nearly infinite array of options. Society will offer him popular remedies for common problem and he’l often follow those protocols. Where do the protocols come from?

            Sure, there is not much difference between a Muslim turkey hunt and a Christian rabbit hunt. No big deal. But when for example someone is accused of rape, things are very different. Why? Not because Islam caused that guy to rape someone. But the ways people seek to solve those problems are shaped by ideology. And over time if men are able to scapegoat women for rape, that makes it easier for some abusive men to go ahead because the cost and or risk is lower.

            When people are accused in the Western world of crimes, we tend to expect that our formal processes will be followed. We get just as naturally upset as any other people but we have a firm ideology that calls for following government demands (that also came form ideology) for due process and specific framework for how we respond. And that is a factor.

            You can also argue possibly that summary execution for rapists would result in a different and better society. You need an ideological framework to build consensus.

            Material needs are part of the human condition. We all need to solve problems that come up. The framework that we follow when we have needs will some times change how we seek to solve those problems. Those “solutions” or protocols for solutions become part of our society, derived more or less from the original framework.

            And it gets more complicated from there but is still easy to show. When we look at how people negotiate in order to organize group activities, that varies from culture to culture and you can find ideological reasons or an ideological framework that explains why some societies are more trusting of “good faith” in potential cohorts than others are.

            I could go on for a long time but this is not the ideal venue for such a discussion

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As for a supposedly eviscerated military, how many tanks did the USSR have when it collapsed? Having goaded our Cold War enemies into unsustainable military spending, do you really think it in our best interests to follow suit?”

            It’s not so much that we can’t get the work done with the tools we have but the problems come in part from the signals that he sends by his particular approach to just about everything. And I mean everything.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Except that each element of this statement is demonstrably wrong. The Obama administration has opposed Russian aggression, it has opposed Muslim mililtary aggression, and it has forcefully defended U.S. interests.”

        Everyone “opposes aggression” with fine words. Who doesn’t? Even mendacious attackers use the same kind of rhetoric as they launch missiles. Isn’t HAMAS also “opposed to aggression?”

        POTUS thinks a lot like HAMAS.

        “Noting that some actions taken in the name of defending the national interest have proved counterproductive is hardly the same as suggesting that all efforts to defend the national interest are “always wrong.” This knee-jerk resort to straw men and false dichotomies is a flaw in your thinking.”

        I don’t necessarily object to what politicians note, but I often read more from their actions than I do merely from their words.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Except, of course, that it wasn’t “Obama’s community organizer BS” that created this crisis. Obama didn’t destroy the old Sunni power structure, he didn’t put a vengeful Shi’a in power. While you mock his more thoughtful approach, you might want to think a bit on how well the traditional Realist and neocon approaches have worked out.”

        Merely criticizing predecessors doesn’t on the surface make any critic more thoughtful than the subjects that had to make the decisions.

        • hiernonymous

          There is every reason to suppose that a view of a situation that includes critique of previous policy is more thoughtful than a view of the situation that does not.

          In evaluating the situation in Iraq, and considering the possible policy alternatives, it’s germane to consider that the forceful marginalization of Sunni political aspirations created a window for radicalization that had not previously existed. This suggests, among other things, that more of the same could reasonably be expected to result in more of the same.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “There is every reason to suppose that a view of a situation that includes critique of previous policy is more thoughtful than a view of the situation that does not.”

            There is every reason to suppose that a view of a situation that includes critique of previous policy is potentially more thoughtful than a view of the situation that does not.

            In this the real event, I’m asserting that it’s not. Unless we count all brain activity as “thoughtful.”

            I suppose they could be hiding a lot of brilliance behind all of that incompetence they show to the world. I can’t say more than that really.

            “In evaluating the situation in Iraq, and considering the possible policy alternatives, it’s germane to consider that the forceful marginalization of Sunni political aspirations created a window for radicalization that had not previously existed. This suggests, among other things, that more of the same could reasonably be expected to result in more of the same.”

            That’s part of the equation. That’s not the whole equation. And letting people run amok chopping off the heads of innocents (or even guilty) does not sound like a “thoughtful” solution.

      • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

        “[Obama's] more thoughtful approach…” Hoo-boy! That’s must be some fine Colorado, er, “agricultural product” you’re smoking, son.

        • hiernonymous

          Just how old are you?

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Take a nap.

          • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

            ?? Not sure what the point of your question is. I’m not a stoner from the 60′s, if that’s what you mean. I believe in drug legalization, but I would never use them myself, even grass.

          • hiernonymous

            You called me “son,” so I was wondering if you were seriously geezing.

          • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

            I get it at last. I’m middle-aged, but I find that with every year that passes it’s becoming more likely that I’m older than some person I encounter at random in the course of the day. Don’t know why that should be…

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I’m starting to think hiernonymous might be a little obsessed with you.

      • truebearing

        It’s beginning to look that way. I think it’s narcissistic rage. He can’t handle criticism or losing debates. oops. I used the “N” word again.

        • Americana

          Considering you gave **yourself** compliments TWICE in close proximity over one post, that narcissism bug must be pretty darn contagious… Besides, just FYI, you don’t award yourself victory in a debate, you wait for the moderator to call the win on the basis of the public acclaim.

          • truebearing

            When you defend an untenable position, such as your idiotic theory on the Koint Chiefs being responsible for Benghazi, ot that the Taliban wasn’t complicit in 9/11, you automatically lose the debate. Both are false.

            What compliments are you babbling about?

          • Americana

            Your quote (one of them) was, “I like mine better.” That’s modesty? Rings a lot more of narcissism. Anyone who thinks they’ve written something that’s better than that tight, word perfect little gem of a von Clausewitz quote has a serious problem w/overestimating their own writing.

            The narcissism gig has been used in a few elections now. Two of them played the whole psychology thing very heavily w/the last election taking the Poissant Prize (fishing/pissing) for Psychological Presentation to a whole new level.

          • truebearing

            You need to develop a sense of humor and stop straining to get even. The reason I put it that way was simple. The quote from von Clausewitz was unnecessarily wordy, like virtually all of your posts. Simple and direct is more my style. Furthermore, why is it wrong to prefer your own take on something? There are plenty of times I prefer someone else’s, just not that one.

            The other reason is that hiero was trying desperately to prove White Hunter’s compliment wrong, most likely because it was for something I wrote. He likes grandiloquence himself, so it came as no surprise he would dig up something like the von Clausewitz quote. Von Clausewitz was a great military strategist, but it doesn’t mean his every utterance is wonderful.

            The von Clausewitz quote reminds me of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. A verbose, convoluted, clumsy, and arrogant attempt to improve upon the Golden Rule. It didn’t. It was unwieldy and pointless. Jesus had already expressed perfecly what Kant tried to “improve.” Simple and direct is better. Try it sometime.

          • Americana

            If someone who labels everyone else who’s remotely an independent thinker a “narcissist” when he demonstrates the most narcissistic trait of all — putting himself forward and praising his words, that’s got to be pointed out.

            The quote from von Clausewitz was about 24 words, at most, hardly wordy. And Drakken wouldn’t have recognized it as a perfect encapsulation of the relationship between war and diplomacy if that weren’t the case.

          • hiernonymous

            If you thought that your comment was a simpler and more direct version of the Clausewitz quote, you didn’t follow the Clausewitz quote. Your comment suggested that you were incensed that Obama had political motives for his wars; the Clausewitz quotation points out that the distinction you tried to draw between war and politics is artificial.

            Von Clausewitz was a great military strategist, but it doesn’t mean his every utterance is wonderful.”

            That quotation is one of the most famous observations in the history of warfare. The only other comment Clausewitz ever made that is probably quoted as often is “Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult.”

            The von Clausewitz quote reminds me of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. A verbose, convoluted, clumsy, and arrogant attempt to improve upon the Golden Rule.

            Does it, now? Whose earlier and more elegant description of war as a continuation of politics do you prefer?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            “That quotation is one of the most famous observations in the history of warfare.”

            That’s a solid defense of its validity.

          • hiernonymous

            A statement needs a solid defense when it’s been subjected to a solid attack. TB simply complained that not everything he said was “wonderful.” TB plainly did not understand Clausewitz’s comment – as he thought it essentially a restatement of his own – and offered no substantive critique of it, so how, exactly, do you suppose its validity to have been challenged?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            So you’re blaming your lack of a solid defense on Truebearing.

            I can see why you’re an Obama supporter.

          • hiernonymous

            “So you’re blaming your lack of a solid defense on Truebearing.”

            No. I’m noting that there hasn’t been an argument made that Clausewitz’s observation is unsound, so it’s still not clear what you imagine it would be defended from. If you disagree, your response should highlight the argument in question.

            “I can see why you’re an Obama supporter.”

            Can you, and am I?

          • hiernonymous

            Are you still trying to find Truebearing’s argument?

            No worries, I couldn’t find it, either.

      • Mako

        hiernonymous never goes to Slate, Salon or Huffpo, because obviously their posters never error or post anything that may need correcting.

        hiernonymous presumes that only at a conservative site do any posters need a lesson in logic or history.

        • truebearing

          More importantly, they don’t correct him. That is what he hates more than anything.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          His theory is that we’re dangerous and the others aren’t.

      • Mako

        hiernonymous can find the same arguments and posts at a site like The Blaze, yet he doesn’t go there. FPM is special in terms that it covers the problems with Islam more so than a site like The Blaze or Fox News, so hiernonymous “camps” this site. He cannot help himself.

        • truebearing

          Ironically, just today hiernonymouse attacked me on the Blaze. My less than cordial response may have something to do with his reappearance here. Perhaps he is especially bilious over the link I shared with him that shoots down his absurd assertion that the Taliban weren’t complicit in 9/11.

          http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/their-911-role_794957.html

          • Mako

            Just providing a safe haven for a terrorists group is being complicit. He’s got to be a Muslim sympathizer if not Iman or something.
            If I tangle with someone beside reading past posts I look at the topics they post on and the sites the visit or like to try to get a sense of who they are.
            Earlier on I have replied to people in a email/electronic “flame war” sort of way after reading their post. The after reading several posts previous to the one I responded to, I found out that not only had I misread or misunderstood their post, but that I fragged them and was guilty of friendly fire. So I not only will research a topic but research who I am responding to via Disqus.
            If hiernonymous gets too frisky they will ban him from “The Blaze”. For one they ban you if you post to frequently.

          • truebearing

            “Just providing a safe haven for a terrorists group is being complicit. He’s got to be a Muslim sympathizer if not Iman or something.”

            Exactly. He has argued that the Taliban wasn’t complicit in 9/11 against all common sense, for hours. Despite making contradictory statements, he insists on quibbling.

          • hiernonymous

            As I noted to you earlier, here’s what your article actually has to say. It leads off with this all-important caveat: “Mohammad Fazl, who served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff and deputy defense minister prior to his detention at Guantánamo, did not have a hand in planning the actual 9/11 hijackings.”

            So, right off the bat, your article acknowledges what I’ve been saying – that the Taliban was not involved in 9/11.

            The rest of the article, which is actually quite interesting, goes on to argue that AQ got closely involved in the assassination of Massoud and in the offensive against the Northern Alliance for the specific purpose of making itself indispensable to the Taliban in order to mitigate potential blowback from the 9/11 operation. In short, AQ anticipated that the Taliban might be so angry or afraid of the consequences of the operation that it took elaborate steps to make sure the attack did not irreparably rupture its relationship with the Taliban.

            While that’s a fascinating insight into AQ’s long-term planning, your article rather firmly strengthens the case that the Taliban did not have prior knowledge of AQ’s intentions for 9/11.

          • truebearing

            Here is the entire first paragraph, which clearly implicates the Taliban as essential to the 9/11 plot:

            “One of the five senior Taliban leaders transferred to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl played a key role in al Qaeda’s plans leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mohammad Fazl, who served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff and deputy defense minister prior to his detention at Guantánamo, did not have a hand in planning the actual 9/11 hijackings. Along with a notorious al Qaeda leader, however, Fazl did help coordinate a military offensive against the enemies of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan the day before. And Osama bin Laden viewed that September 10 offensive as an essential part of al Qaeda’s 9/11 plot.”

            Did you read the last line, or did you just decide to skip it because it hurts your ridiculous argument?

            The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaeda, and worked with them in coordinated military actions. That is complicity in any honest, sane person’s book.

            For anyone who cares to read the article hiero is quibbling over:

            http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/their-911-role_794957.html

          • Americana

            The Taliban could have been given any number of reasons for AQ helping them execute that raid. That is no more a definitive proof of AQ figures having provided any disclosures about the 9/11 plot to the Taliban than anything else you’ve produced. That’s the same as any other diversionary tactic that’s designed to draw the enemy’s attention away from the actual main event.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            An organization that harbors and aids international jihadi terrorists is a threat to US interests.

            Agreed?

          • Americana

            The sentence as it stands is curtailed, therefore answering it in either the positive or the negative means that I’m only giving you a partial answer. We both know this so why the pretense that you can ask that question and then have a free run w/the answer. If that were asked in a court and you subsequently didn’t ask the corollary question(s) that take that off into greater operational detail, the other lawyer would attack your case on the basis of what you left out of your questioning.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The sentence as it stands is curtailed, therefore answering it in either the positive or the negative means that I’m only giving you a partial answer.”

            You’re afraid that you’ll be cut off after you answer only that question?

            “We both know this so why the pretense that you can ask that question and then have a free run w/the answer.”

            I want you to acknowledge the fundamental fact that the Taliban is a pro-sharia jihadi movement that harbors international terrorists, and is thus our enemy. If you can overcome that simple fact, I’m all ears.

            I think most of us understand that the Taliban were not central to the WTC attack itself. That’s not a powerful mitigation. Although I concede to the point that they’re not on par with AQ. They’re separated by one degree.

          • truebearing

            Here are the facts:

            TheTaliban knew Al Qaeda was a terrorist organisation that was bent on attacking the US. We had tried to extradite Bin Laden for two previous terror bombings in 1998, which the Taliban turned down. So there is NO credible argument that the Taliban didn’t know what Bin Laden was up to, in general.

            The Taliban refused to give up Bin Laden again after 9/11. This is now a pattern of protecting a known terrorist organization and sworn enemy of the United States. An enemy that had declared war on the United States.

            The taliban and Al Qaeda were military allies.

            The Taliban provided Al Qaeda a safe haven for a base of operations whose primary goal was attacking the US.

            Anyone who doesn’t see that as complicity in 9/11 is a moron or a liar. Which one are you? You can choose both if you want to.

          • Americana

            Oh, I’m sure you’d love for me to choose both! The Taliban is a nationalist regional jihadi organization. Their interest is in Afghanistan. Jihad actions undertaken in Africa by related al Qaeda affiliates would likely have been seen as being the fault of that jihadist group and not have been seen as necessarily being tied to Osama bin Laden even if bin Laden claimed the inspiration for them. Certainly I don’t believe bin Laden shared the 9/11 details w/ANY of the Taliban or there would have been talk of it on jihadi web sites after the 9/11 strikes. Call that hairsplitting, but the jihadis isolate who’s actually responsible for which attacks. I can easily see them disputing the embassy bombings and believing that Osama bin Laden had earned the right to live among them having waged jihad w/them for so many years.
            _____________________________________________________

            This is from Wikipedia, but it hit all the points I was after:

            The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and their terrorist organization al-Qaeda, to the attention of the American public for the first time, and resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) placing bin Laden on its ten most-wanted fugitives list. The FBI also connected the attack to Azerbaijan, as 60 calls regarding the strike were placed via satellite phone by bin Laden to associates in the country’s capital Baku.[2] Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah were credited for being the masterminds behind the bombings.

            Motivation and preparation

            The bombings are widely believed to have been revenge for American involvement in the extradition, and alleged torture, of four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) who had been arrested in Albania in the two months prior to the attacks.[6] Between June and July, Ahmad Isma’il ‘Uthman Saleh, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Naggar, Shawqi Salama Mustafa Atiya and Mohamed Hassan Tita were all renditioned from Albania to Egypt, with the co-operation of the United States; the four men were accused of participating in the assassination of Rifaat el-Mahgoub, as well as a later plot against the Khan el-Khalilimarket in Cairo. The following month, a communique was issued warning the United States that a “response” was being prepared to repay them for their interference.
            ____________________________________________________

            You can offer up **your** list of choices as to whether someone who recognizes what the Taliban did was complicity for 9/11 and then condemn them if they answer wrongly in your eyes. But in your list of questions, you fail to address the fact that the central Afghanistan government really had no control over the tribal areas. So even if the national Afghan government had tried to locate bin Laden, they might never have found him.

          • truebearing

            You aren’t capable of processing simple truths. You’re like a toddler that makes noises so it can hear itself. It’s called echolalia. It’s normal in toddlers but not in adults. You go on and on with your responses but can’t integrate facts into a common sense understanding. It is a curious malady people on the Left suffer from. That and pathological dishonesty.

          • hiernonymous

            Kudos to you for a level of courage and self-awareness for which I had not given you credit.

          • hiernonymous

            Someone just suggested to me that the absence of a response indicates agreement. What do you think of that logic?

          • hiernonymous

            “Did you read the last line, or did you just decide to skip it because it hurts your ridiculous argument?”

            Yes, I read it. No, it doesn’t “hurt my ridiculous argument.”

            It seems to have escaped your attention that Osama bin Ladin was a member of AQ, not the Taliban.

            As usual, you’re not taking the time to follow the argument that you’re responding to. Of course al Qa’ida regarded the assassination of Massoud and the offensive as essential to the 9/11 plot. They were the means by which AQ hoped to control the blowback.

            The question, of course, is whether the Taliban was aware of the 9/11 plot ahead of time, and this article, far from suggesting that they were, builds a strong case that it was not.

            “The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaeda, and worked with them in coordinated military actions.”

            Of course they did. The Taliban was trying to consolidate control of Afghanistan. Al Qa’ida was helping them do that. Why would military cooperation come as a surprise? The salient question was whether the Taliban knew, or had good reason to know, that AQ was planning an attack on the United States, and this article tells us that they did not.

            “That is complicity in any honest, sane person’s book.”

            Sure, you regularly characterize those who disagree with you as mentally disturbed liars. It’s to be hoped that you’ll figure out why that’s a problem someday. Meanwhile, hosting a criminal is generally a crime, but it doesn’t make one guilty of the crimes committed by that criminal. Consider the contrast between how the law deals with someone who is harboring a fugitive and someone who is taking an active role in the crime. The lookout or getaway driver for a bank heist that goes bad and results in a death is charged with murder – he was a knowing and willing participant in the crime, and is considered complicit, even if he didn’t pull the trigger. The individual who harbors those bank robbers is charged with harboring a fugitive, not with the murders. Harboring the fugitives in the case of AQ was enough to justify OEF. However, in the case of the Taliban, it is still relevant to determine whether the Taliban leaders were aware in advance of AQ’s plans to attack the U.S. Your article has contributed to our understanding of that question, so it was well worth posting. Thanks.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            I wouldn’t take Hiero too seriously.

            There are various kinds of trolls, but all of them try to get emotional responses from you. They win if they can elicit them from you.

            Ideological trolls who target opposing sites, like Hiero, want to wear you down. They make arguments in bad faith and will say anything to pointlessly prolong an argument and keep your attention.

            It’s worth remembering that in dealing with them.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            But remember, it’s “good faith” because the agenda is “good.”

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Ah yes

          • truebearing

            I appreciate the advice.

            Last night we had a wake for a friend that just died. That and the ongoing failure of Obama to protect American citizens, plus a few too many glasses of wine, made me less tolerant of Hiernonymouse than usual.

            I’ve been battling with leftist trolls for several years. They’re all the same. Dishonest, shifty, arrogant, narcissistic.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            I know. Some days are harder than others.

      • hiernonymous

        I just had a glance through this thread. Obsession, indeed.

        • truebearing

          Yes, you “had a glance.” A glance indeed. Typical of your dedication to rationality and opposition to truth. Yes, obsession, in fact.
          You hate being labeled. It decreases your effectiveness and ruins your ego-driven satisfaction. For you tenacity is not a virtue in an opponent, and truth is a thing to be obscured. My contempt for your nature is hard to quantify.

          • hiernonymous

            “My contempt for your nature is hard to quantify.”

            Might I suggest a switch to decaf and a couple of teaspoons of perspective?

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Might I suggest less stalktrolling?

          • hiernonymous

            Stalking is an interesting topic. How would you describe your own stalking activities? If they seem reasonable, perhaps I’ll follow your example, but it would be good to have them out in the open.

          • hiernonymous

            *crickets*

          • truebearing

            Might I suggest you get a personality transplant?

          • hiernonymous

            You might. In fact, I believe you just did.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “If military aggression isn’t the problem, then Islam is. Iraq is a Muslim country. The aggressors are Muslims. The Iranians are Muslims. The victims are Muslims…for now. The problem is then the religion of Islam.”

      Right. But but but but…we “the oppressors” caused the root problems.

      Remember that line. Because where does it end? When we prove their theories wrong by letting them transition the entire global macro-economy to communism. IOW, never. These arguments will never go away until we debunk them clearly enough. It will take generations to do that.

  • J.B.

    Obama found 25 supporters in Laguna Beach? Are you sure he didn’t pay THEM the $32,400? He wont find many in Palm Springs, either. Hm. I wonder why he wants to fund raise at a golf resort there?

    • Gee

      Lot’s of movie stars live there

  • fpm

    Even his “team” can provide him with sound recommendations with positive outcome, he will manage it into absolute desolation.

  • Gee

    There are 200 Americans surrounded and trapped at Balad Air Force Base. So of course he is going to go funding raising again.
    Maybe Hillary will tell Americans how they don’t matter either

    • Drakken

      Security contractors of various companies including mine are currently working on the problem. Can’t depend on Uncle Sugar anymore.

      • truebearing

        Kill as many of the ISIS psychos as you can (like you need any encouragement). Good luck.

        • Drakken

          It amazes me that in complete chaos, panic and disorder that good ole western ingenuity and lack of US Govt bungling and interference, that things can get done. Anything armored is being begged, borrowed or stolen to make things happen. One way or another it is going to be one h*ll of a gauntlet run. The Green zone is now in complete panic, if Bagdad international gets taken, it is going to get really bloody.

          • Americana

            Will you guys be able to get any air cover at all? Are you aware yet if they’re really seasoned combat troops or are they guys they’ve just picked up recently and they’re still a little green? Don’t feel you need to discuss anything here that might be sensitive.

          • Drakken

            We are bringing in our own air and more security contractors. The guys are serious professionals from the full spectrum of various military forces that can get pretty much anything done as long as the US State Dept stays out of the way. The situation is rather sticky right now.

          • Americana

            ((I won’t ask any more questions. Safety first.))

          • truebearing

            May God be with you and your people. Obama won’t be helping, but you true Americans will do what Americans do: risk your lives for others.

            You have our undying loyalty and respect!

          • Drakken

            I will say this though, it is breath of fresh air when there is govt inertia and paralysis that works in our favor.

          • hiernonymous

            Are you in Iraq at the moment?

          • truebearing

            Are you sincere in the moment? LOL.

          • hiernonymous

            Tell me about your last combat tour, and I’ll answer your question.

          • Mel

            When was your last combat tour?

          • hiernonymous

            Credited? 2008, but that was bs. Real? ’94. Why do you ask?

          • Mel

            I would assume 94 would be Bosnia and you might be in the field and have skin in the game as Obama likes to say.
            By 2008 your rank is rather high. By that time you risk is about as much as a food service worker at a large base.
            Although you discount it and most others here would not think of it, your risk outside of Iraq but in the Middle East could have been higher than people expect. Either that or anti-terrorism training is a complete waste of time (I recently took it and it did not seem to be a waste of time.).
            They shot a USAID worker in Jordan (an armed camp from what I was told) or Kuwait working on agricultural projects. They certainly would not have passed on you, if they had the chance.

          • hiernonymous

            “I would assume 94 would be Bosnia”

            Close – just a bit earlier. Mogadishu. In fact, one of the Marine units that covered our withdrawal was actually there because it was en route to the Balkans.

            “Although you discount it and most others here would not think of it, your risk outside of Iraq but in the Middle East could have been higher than people expect.”

            Sure, but you probably understand that there’s a huge gulf between “elevated risk” and “combat.”

            Did you go to InTAC? My wife and I attended before being assigned to Egypt. There’s something a little unnerving about watching your wife put on a motorcycle helmet, climb in a big Ford, and smash her way through roadblocks. What a blast.

          • truebearing

            It was a legitimate question. And yours was kind of dumb. Why would he publicly announce being in Iraq?

          • hiernonymous

            “It was a legitimate question. ”

            I’m sorry – I thought you were asking about my sincerity. That’s not a legitimate question. What was it you really wanted to know?

            “And yours was kind of dumb.”

            Since it wasn’t asked of you, I’m not too concerned with your take.

          • Drakken

            No, I am in a different ME country, but I am the one tasked with coordinating with other companies to resolve this bloody mess. The State Dept is completely clueless and couldn’t coordinate a circle jerk and are now being completely ignored and cut out of the process. The Pentagon is begging the Obummer administration to move, but for now their hands are tied. This is reminding me in a lot of ways of when Mogadishu fell.

          • hiernonymous

            I was in Mog when we pulled out. It was pretty well organized.

            Sounds like a pretty standard NEO situation. They’re always goatropes.

          • Drakken

            I was in Mog when it fell, funny, even the European countries are stuck in the Green Zone with no clue as to how to get their people out as well. The Russian landed one of their big Antinov 124′s at Bagdad International so we are chatting with them and they look like they will cooperate with transport aircraft to get the non essential folks to Kuwait. Keep your fingers crossed that it works. A couple of our more enterprising folks borrowed a few Iraqi army tanks.

          • hiernonymous

            I imagine that our government types will be focused on the embassy – it’s huge.

            I’m guessing that folks have more time to play with than they think. I don’t imagine Baghdad will be falling anytime soon. Still, sounds like your firms have decided to pull the trigger on complete evac – good luck arranging transport.

          • truebearing

            You might want to walk back your disrespect for Drakken. You are the one who takes no risks and deserves no loyalty. You are the one who speaks but knows not. You are the one who should heed the call of humility.

            Are you up to it?

          • hiernonymous

            “You are the one who takes no risks and deserves no loyalty.”

            Eh? Where did that come from? What risks are you taking?

          • truebearing

            Shut your phony face. Americana was highly disrespectful of Drakken, as were you, in the past. FU. This is typical of the Left. Feign concern when it is propitious, attack when it is advantageous. You are quite transparent.

            This is all on Obama, and you know it. He did NOTHING to rescue the Americans, once again .Now you posture mightily, but you will defend America’s bete noire as soon as the immediate crisis is over.

          • hiernonymous

            So I’m guessing that the answer to the question is “none?”

            I think that Drakken and I understand each other well enough. I’m happy to call BS on him when I think it’s warranted, and he’s not shy about the reverse. What exactly do you have to contribute to the matter? Is there something in your background that you haven’t shared that makes your opinion on the matter worth reading?

          • truebearing

            I wasn’t the moron who was mocking Drakken a week or so ago. That was you and your half-wit protege.

            You are phony. You wrap yourself in the flag when it is convenient, but defend Obama’s disastrous policies constantly and tenaciously. You are no patriot. Patriots don’t defend adherents to ideologies that are hostile to this nation.

            I don’t need to qualify for your approval of my comments. In fact, I would consider your approval to be bad thing and time for me to seriously review my thinking.

          • hiernonymous

            “I wasn’t the moron who was mocking Drakken a week or so ago.”

            Don’t lead with your chin.

            “You are phony…..You are no patriot.”

            You dodged the question. What risks are you taking? What is it about your background that makes your opinions on patriotism worth the space they take up?

            I also missed your response to this one:

            “Shut your phony face. ”

            Or….?

          • truebearing

            You seem to be slow on the uptake. I don’t submit to your attempts at interrogation. Your nobody I respect, you aren’t an authority, you don’t have any integrity, therefore, if I think you need to know something, I’ll decide what it is and I’ll tell you. Got it?

            What didn’t you understand about “Shut your phony face?” it seemed pretty clear to me.

            Or what?

          • hiernonymous

            “I don’t submit to your attempts at interrogation…”

            The question was the point, of course. It would have been surprising indeed to have received a meaningful answer.

            “What didn’t you understand about “Shut your phony face?””

            I don’t understand how you propose to enforce your command. Shut up, or you’ll what? Emote at me some more?

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Hussein did one thing – he kept his pledge to leave No One Behind – no taliban thug behind.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            The risk of responding to your idiotic comments..

          • truebearing

            There is some inherent risk in that. Good point.

          • hiernonymous

            Ah, so that’s your idea of taking risks. Good to know.

          • Americana

            I don’t have personal disrespect for Drakken. He’s due an ***enormous amount*** of respect for what he’s doing as a contractor. I hope he realizes that w/more discussions. There is no replacement for what he and his fellow contractors do in the region. But I want him to know why I take the stance I do. There’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation that’s being concocted to serve political purposes that has no bearing on the truth. My feeling is the truth should always win out, no matter how messy or convoluted. I roasted Drakken over his Benghazi radio call claim for the very same reason I’ve roasted you — there is no basis for what his (and your) assumptions were.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Moronicana, Please try to suppress your HERsterics.

          • truebearing

            You were rude, contemptuous, arrogant, and snotty. Now that you want to be “in the know,” suddenly Drakken is a great guy you respect enormously. I’ve got news for you: Drakken is the same guy today he was when you were being ***enormously disrespectful*** to him. You are the one who has changed, but it is only temporary. You’ll revert to your harpy personality once he disagrees with one of your nonsensical theories again.

          • Americana

            Oh, now I’m a harpy in addition to being narcissistic and whatever simply because I challenged Drakken on the radio call? That’s a matter of history and if he didn’t hear something that makes his case then he didn’t hear it. I was “snotty” as you call it because he didn’t hear precisely the vindication he thought he heard. He didn’t hear that units were within range of Benghazi within the timeframe that would have saved lives. That’s how one clarifies the event. You don’t keep plastering stories one after the other that have the SAME IDENTICAL FLAWED TIMEFRAME and claim that the circumstances have miraculously changed.

            I don’t have to be in the know through Drakken. And, if you didn’t notice, I said I WASN’T GOING TO ASK ANY MORE QUESTIONS. Why? Because he’s got better things to do cleaning and readying his kit than answering dumb questions from us and I believe in the whole ‘loose lips sink ships” business. I can call journalists for details. It’s more that he’s here and I’m going to wish him well because they’ve got a hair-raising mission in front of them. The two things — chasing down historical details and wishing him well — are not exclusive. This is a question of history and even if you don’t appreciate it, others will appreciate the fact there no units within an hour of Benghazi that could have flown in there and saved the day. I’m sure we will have further disagreements. I certainly don’t believe we can commit genocide but we did agree on the immediate strategy for Iraq. As for Drakken being fearful of me going all harpy on him if he shoots down one of my theories, that’ll happen only if he’s nonsensical from my perspective.

          • truebearing

            Yada,yada, yada. You are hopeless. It wouldn’t do any good to prove your hypocrisy. You’d just rationalize until you convinced yourself you did nothing wrong. Most of the other readers already know who you are.

            Babble on…

          • Americana

            Nothing you’ve produced has proved that Benghazi was salvageable. Your latest story about the C-17 pilot had him 4.5 hours from Benghazi. Considering Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith were dead within the first hour and a half of fighting, that doesn’t work for a timeframe window for rescue. If there were units within TACTICAL REACH of Benghazi, i.e., they would have had to have been within far less than an hour’s flight time away from the compound in order to get on the ground and effectively begin engaging w/the terrorists to prevent the fire that killed Amb. Stevens and Sean Smith, they would have come forward. How is it the Armed Forces are able to hide these guys?

          • truebearing

            I’ll give you this. You appear to be far more convincing in your concern than hiernonymouse.

          • Americana

            truebearing, don’t you ever make a remark like that to me again to score a point. We may all have political differences over what to do w/militant Islam, but anyone in the military knows what present-day weaponry can do. Don’t you ever imply that all the military men and women on this BB don’t support each other in a moment of crisis. Wolfknowsall, Drakken, kasandra, hieronymous, every single military person here knows the tumult and chaos and personal risk of what goes on in a war zone.

          • Nick

            And what is your ideal about what Americans should do about militant Islam?
            Besides your enthusiasm for permaculture, your main purpose here seems to be to slam posters and FPM.

          • RealAmericana

            Considering that permaculture actually is helping to lessen the land strife in the region because people are being shown they can raise food anywhere, I don’t feel that any of my concerns are out of bounds.

            As for militant Islam, it’s too huge of an issue for me to cover in one post. I only body check when I disagree vehemently w/an opinion. If you think that taking fallacious positions does anyone any substantive good, give me an example where you feel that worked to the discussion’s advantage.

          • Nick

            There is nothing wrong with permaculture. It is the only time you were not vehemently putting people down.
            You are every bit as welcome as hiernonymous and that is saying a lot. Ask people. Dare you.

          • Nick

            “As for militant Islam, it’s too huge of an issue for me to cover in one post. I only body check when I disagree vehemently w/an opinion.”

            Too huge of an issue, so you would not want to be hasty and offer an opinion on Muslim immigration or laws the Muslims majorities pass in places like Malaysia.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Moronicana, Please take your demands and stick them where the Sun don’t shine.

          • truebearing

            Get off your high horse, princess. Just a few days ago, both you and hiero were rude and insulting in the extreme to Drakken. Would you like me to post some of your rude, offensive comments? You are a poseur and a hypocrite.

            I’ll make any remark to you that I want to. You seem to have deluded yourself into believing you control what people can say in a comment section.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            They’re just following Hilary’s lead.

          • Americana

            I’m not a poseur and I’m not a hypocrite. I recognized instantly that what Drakken had written wasn’t possible. At least not in the sense that he understood it and was presenting it. Whether that was out of ignorance or not, it was something that needed to be corrected for a straightforward approach to the history of the event. Making that distinction — and making Drakken realize what the distinction was — is essential for clafiying the event for what it was. Recognizing the essential job he does and the courage and skills it takes has nothing to do w/being angry over the continuing misrepresentations about Benghazi. They’re identical to your continuing misrepresentations and misunderstandings about Benghazi.

          • Drakken

            You Hunyuk, are just going to have to understand my plain spoken un- pc- like blunt assessments.

          • Drakken

            Don’t worry Truebearing, It is just like a duck in the rain, it just rolls off it’s back, so no worries. You certainly, without question, take the time to explain well though out policy processes far better than I do. Just when you thought common sense was dead, here you are to breath some life into it.

          • hiernonymous

            That’s probably because I asked the question to elicit information, not to pose. Until I get the answer to the question, I won’t know if there’s even any reason to be concerned, will I?

          • truebearing

            God be with you guys. I know it sounds insane, but I wish i was there. Yes, keep the effing Statist Department out of the way. Ventilate if necessary.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          Those guys are not to be taken prisoner as far as I’m concerned unless someone is marked as a valuable catch for some reason.

          • Drakken

            It is rather like deer hunting, if it is brown, it is down and no bag limit. There certainly won’t be any quarter from them.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I hope you guys are able to run a smart campaign. No sense getting killed over any of those idiots. Not if you can possibly avoid it. Take care of yourself.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            Send in the drones, there ought to be drones.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            At the least.

            Giving jihadis in Libya such comprehensive air cover and then sitting on our hands now…it makes me angry to think about it.

          • Drakken

            It is chaos, with lots of panic and when you have panic people do some very stupid things. So the folks on the ground are trying to keep from them from fleeing into something worse.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I believe you have a good heart. We’re all praying for you.

      • Gee

        If you can’t get them all the way home – get to the Kurds. They took Kirkuk and they will protect you.

  • GMMI

    The only thing option his “national security team” is working on is finding some way to blame someone else for his creating a totally FUBAR situation in Iraq.

    • Gee

      It’s Bush’s fault – just ask them

    • objectivefactsmatter

      At some point they’ll blame it on our WWI victory without mentioning Wilson.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge… So, any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force.”

    Because the root cause is historical oppression from certain “Christian” empires. Pretty much everything “bad” that they do is our fault.

    The root cause is income inequality and lack of social justice.

    Right Barry?

    • Americana

      Where does Pres. Obama mention income inequality in the following speech on IRAQ:

      (Pres. Obama) “…a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities…”

      Don’t confuse what the President says about the various conflicts.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Don’t confuse what the President says about the various conflicts.”

        I’m not confusing anything. Perhaps I understand his worldview better than you do.

        Some times we need to read between the lines to understand motives. And we can read between the lines when we know what has been said before.

        If he cared about setting aside sectarian differences he would have been more supportive of a strong, secular and fair national sovereign supported by a constitution similar to our own. He doesn’t mind when jihadis win. He might think it’s inevitable correction to what we blasphemous infidels did to the Turkish empire.

        He imagines that if we leave jihadis alone long enough that every Islamic nation will more or less settle down in to something like he experienced in Indonesia.

        • Americana

          It may not be the popular opinion, especially here, but I think he was hampered most of all by the insistence of some Iraqi political figures on maintaining the entirety of a unified Iraq. The reality after the war was that we just didn’t have the guts to let there be any kind of partitioning of Iraq within more realistic ethnic and sectarian borders. We thought they’d see the value of remaining a single sovereign nation w/X natural resources shared among all but the Kurds wanted to leave and take their oil rights and so on and so on… Hmmm, I never thought of him comparing Iraq to the Indonesia of his childhood. But there are jihadists now in Indonesia and, really, he can’t be confused on what jihadi nationalism claims for itself when he’s seen it erupting everywhere. No, I’m convinced he’s just unsure that stopping jihads is feasible especially when he’s seen us invest so much in the way of American money in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s concerned himself w/those in the Middle East for the most part but there are others elsewhere that may eventually catch the attention of the U.S. military if they become dangerous enough.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            It was difficult to build consensus here at home once the leftist maniacs started marching in the streets before the mission even started.

            “But there are jihadists now in Indonesia and, really, he can’t be confused on what jihadi nationalism claims for itself when he’s seen it erupting everywhere.”

            That’s kind of my point. He sees that “Muslims” can police other “Muslims” and keep the jihadis under control. In reality it’s way more complicated than that. It doesn’t bother him at all to have jihadis calling for sharia. He thinks that’s no problem because Indonesia is “just fine.” It’s treated like a law and order issue in Indonesia. And jihadis get away with trashing churches and persecuting non-Sunnis all the time. It’s an unofficial dhimmi society.

            And he can still consider that Indonesia is still suffering from post-colonial recovery and in his mind will only get better.

            And it’s not like he literally plans to turn the USA in to Indonesia. But it is a kind of reference point for him to validate his ideas about multiculturalism and what jihadis will do if you leave them alone and apply “social justice” principals.

            “No, I’m convinced he’s just unsure that stopping jihads is feasible especially when he’s seen us invest so much in the way of American money in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

            That’s part of the equation. It’s not that important to him. Better to fatten up the welfare rolls and let the jihadis sort things out by themselves.

            What he DOES NOT see is that our cultural hegemony is a big factor in any sovereign’s ability to have productive ventures.

            “He’s concerned himself w/those in the Middle East for the most part but there are others elsewhere that may eventually catch the attention of the U.S. military if they become dangerous enough.”

            He’s only interested in military victories that are clearly going to be political victories for him. And his agenda is all about shrinking US hegemony so that we stop “bothering” the world so much and everyone else can “enjoy the prosperity” that we allegedly choked out of “the world” through “neo-colonialism.”

          • Americana

            So you think we can have military victories throughout the Muslim world over these Muslim jihadist/militants and they would be permanent? Do you have any idea how thin our forces would be spread if we attempted to confront all the Muslim jihads? Never mind that we haven’t achieved stabilized peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            As for reducing American hegemony internationally, I think he’s only interested in reducing our military presence around the world for budgetary reasons. I don’t think he’s interested at all in reducing American cultural hegemony in terms of American products being sold abroad. But as for the President being able to assure that American multinationals can operate safely anywhere in the world just because we’re American and we deserve to be able to do that without any fears or any hindrance, that’s just not ever been the purview of any President. We were able to conduct business internationally in many locations for a long time because the world was politically quiescent.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “So you think we can have military victories throughout the Muslim world over these Muslim jihadist/militants and they would be permanent?”

            I think that we have 14 centuries of history to teach us some things about what will work. I think we ignore too many of those valuable lessons.

            “Do you have any idea how thin our forces would be spread if we attempted to confront all the Muslim jihads? Never mind that we haven’t achieved stabilized peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

            There’s no need. Our behavior has encouraged them, but in much different ways than you realize. You have to understand the history. And most of our recent errors have come from how we handle winning the peace, not winning the war. We need to learn some lessons from Japan as well, where Shintoism was the threat. The whole Muslim world is not going to rise up.

            They’re somewhat fatalistic and a few sharp victories combined with support after the fact, IOW Bush’s grand strategies were not completely insane, he just got a lot of very bad advice on how to achieve these goals.

            Learn from history. Most of the answers are already there. Humans have not changed much. Only technology changes as ideas evolve.

          • Americana

            We had some extremely “sharp victories” In Iraq and Kuwait and it certainly didn’t slap these jihadists back into line on a permanent basis. Why? Because they can score cheap victories through their irregular jihadist attacks. I don’t believe our behavior has encouraged them all that much. They’re simply able to move to where they need to be to execute and attack. Interesting you mention the “whole Muslim world is not going to rise up,” when so many on this and other sites are basically making that claim.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “We had some extremely “sharp victories” In Iraq and Kuwait and it certainly didn’t slap these jihadists back into line on a permanent basis. Why? Because they can score cheap victories through their irregular jihadist attacks.”

            That doesn’t undermine what I said. We didn’t fail because our victories were sharp. We failed because we don’t understand how to win and sustain the peace.

            They’re motivated to score cheap victories because it’s widely known that certain presidents with certain party affiliations are easy to chase away. That’s part of it. They also know that even with a strong POTUS that they can count on the Western “peace movement” (anti-nationalists and assorted dupes) to rise up and carry signs with their propaganda through the streets.

            We have enemies all throughout the world and many of them have US citizenship. We need to deal with the world realistically.

            “Interesting you mention the “whole Muslim world is not going to rise up,” when so many on this and other sites are basically making that claim.”

            The way that we’re behaving could lead the whole Muslim world to rise up, if by that you’re talking about savvy leaders that follow the currents. If we’re smart, they won’t. They know that we’re powerful and they know that by teaming with neo-Marxist morons they can get the “Islamophobes” to make big mistakes. As in Iraq.

            Whenever we’re talking about ideological currents, we’re talking mostly about what the vanguard will do and how they react to each particular set of circumstances. The savvy pious Muslim jihadi leaders are trying to get the Muslim world to unite behind them. We’re helping the jihadis do that.

            That’s the point. We should not help the vanguard jihadis and the Machiavellian strongmen. We should nurture leaders that understand how to compromise in their spheres of influence but at the same time not go around using phrases like “religion of peace” or worse saying things like “the future must not belong to those that slander the prophet of Islam.” Believe it or not, the president’s words at the UN incited Muslims more than anything else, but in a different way than you think.

            Having relationships with guys like Mubarak is the smart way forward. That doesn’t mean Mubarak was perfect or that we could not have nudged him to perform better. It means that whatever problems existed in Egypt should have been solved with course corrections, not revolution. Of course it’s up to the Egyptians, but we screwed up there.

          • Americana

            You consider that American Presidents are easy to deter and have no staying power when we’ve been in those countries w/huge American forces for OVER A DECADE? Boy, that duration is not walking away, to me, at all.

            As for strategic choices, what would you do that would instantly turn the tide to the anti-jihad side? I don’t believe that our traditional military presence has been ineffective. Rather, it’s something that can be AVOIDED by the jihadists. So, let’s hear your tactical solutions that trump those of Pres. Obama and his national security advisors. I want to hear the solutions that NO ONE has been willing to try that will permanently turn the tide against jihadists. Simply providing the President and the national security advisors w/hadith quotations doesn’t cut it.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You consider that American Presidents are easy to deter and have no staying power when we’ve been in those countries w/huge American forces for OVER A DECADE? Boy, that duration is not walking away, to me, at all.”

            It’s easy to formulate winning strategies when you’re perfectly willing to spend the money and spill the blood of others to achieve it.

            And Bush did not walk away. Don’t give credit where it’s not due.

            “As for strategic choices, what would you do that would instantly turn the tide to the anti-jihad side?”

            I didn’t actually say that it had to be instant. But in reality it could be. It depends on the price we’re willing to pay.

            The best thing to do first is to spend time explaining the new strategy domestically and to our closest allies. As we communicate the new directions and the jihadis see that we are wide awake to the realities of what is at stake, that alone will cause many of them to hesitate.

            Calling Islam a religion of peace incites them because they feel exhilarated that “Allah” has blinded the infidel for them. They know they are weak. Every time we do something stupid, they feel invigorated. Every time we show how much we swallow the bullshit, they feel Allah is calling them forward to jihad.

            We must immediately project rhetorically that we understand how they read things and signal that things have changed. We don’t care about OIC opinion. We’ll listen but we will explain to them (as I explained to you) that negotiations are finite.

            Basically we have to throw away a lot of modern fallacies about how foreign nations and cultures maintain healthy respect and peaceful relationships with each other. We have to discard these stupid fallacies that are rooted in the idea that all conflict is rooted in material need or material inequality. These fallacies completely destroy our ability to see what is happening right before our eyes. There are religious fanatics that want to rule the world and they have a very well established framework for organizing that effort. As they adapt that framework to modern technology applications it will only get worse until we realize how we’re enabling the violent jihadis with our stupid gullibility.

            “I don’t believe that our traditional military presence has been ineffective.”

            Agreed.

            “Rather, it’s something that can be AVOIDED by the jihadists. So, let’s hear your tactical solutions that trump those of Pres. Obama and his national security advisors. I want to hear the solutions that NO ONE has been willing to try that will permanently turn the tide against jihadists. Simply providing the President and the national security advisors w/hadith quotations doesn’t cut it.”

            The short version is that you’ve got to look at sovereigns that had success in controlling the jihadis where we don’t want to get involved. Domestic jihadis should be handled by the sovereigns. And when they fail we’ve got to stop being so gullible when they blame “militants” that have the full support of the sovereigns.

            We’ve go to wake up.

            The keys lie entirely in our relationships with other sovereigns. That’s consistent with everything that I’ve said. So don’t whine that I haven’t thought this through. We don’t worry about terrorists in France because we trust the French to deal with them and cooperate with this efforts.

            We’ve got to demand more from other sovereigns as well and consistently hold them accountable.

            If any (recognized) “sovereign” can’t keep reasonable control over militias then that calls in to question whether they in fact have sovereign control. That’s reality. That’s the kind of thinking that has to become mainstream.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As for reducing American hegemony internationally, I think he’s only interested in reducing our military presence around the world for budgetary reasons. I don’t think he’s interested at all in reducing American cultural hegemony in terms of American products being sold abroad.”

            He thinks that America is an arrogant trouble-maker. Shrinking our cultural hegemony might not be an explicit goal, but it’s a result of his other goals of withdrawing from “offending” people around the world. Mostly Muslims but also other “anti-colonial” dupes.

            Have you read his books?

            “But as for the President being able to assure that American multinationals can operate safely anywhere in the world just because we’re American and we deserve to be able to do that without any fears or any hindrance, that’s just not ever been the purview of any President.”

            The president is charged with looking after American interests. Nurturing peaceful relationships that include commercial treaties is certainly within his purview. Of course our security comes first, but coming up with some wild theory that shrinking our hegemony is vital to keeping us safe – just doesn’t cut it.

            “We were able to conduct business internationally in many locations for a long time because the world was politically quiescent.”

            We’ve been an active player in keeping it relatively quiet for a very long time. Simply saying we’ve got to run home now because some people are angry at us is a childlike reaction.

          • Americana

            I don’t believe the President is saying we’ve got to “run home now because some people are angry at us.” He’s saying that for oil companies, they might have to pony up for their own defense rather than simply rely on the U.S. subduing an entire country so they can run their oil business there. This is true for Nigeria and it’s true for other oil regions as well. American multinationals are simply not going to have an easy time of it in the Muslim countries that are going through these jihads. We’ve been an “active player” in keeping things quiet only in one way and that is no longer a sufficient deterrence. Time to either go big, go home, or look for alternatives. I’m looking for the alternatives.

            As for cultural hegemony, that **is** an issue in the Middle East. You may consider the Muslims to have cultural standards that are subhuman and substandard but they consider much of western culture to be heinous. We may want to drink spirits in those Muslim countries. We may want whorehouses in those Muslim countries. We may want to wear whatever we want in those Muslim countries. At some point, there will be trouble arising from our exercising our cultural rights in those Muslim countries. Who’s to say that our Western rights should be transferrable to Muslim lands?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “He’s saying that for oil companies, they might have to pony up for their own defense rather than simply rely on the U.S. subduing an entire country so they can run their oil business there.”

            They do pony up when they pay their taxes. We could perhaps revise how those taxes are paid, but first we must empower “Islamist” all over the world before coming up with the proposal? How does that work exactly? When the OIC is dominated by the new Caliphate suddenly they’ll remember the infidel buddy that helped them?

            Come on man. Some of what you say is reasonable outside of the context of defending POTUS. In context…it’s hard for me to take seriously.

            “We’ve been an “active player” in keeping things quiet only in one way and that is no longer a sufficient deterrence.”

            You need to be more explicit about what you’re talking about. One way in what sense? Who pays? We (our government) should negotiate agreements with other sovereigns. And then when the costs are known we can examine rational tax policies once we know what kind of interests we actually have and see if some players have it better than others so that we can make reasonable adjustments.

            I think you guys have some acceptable ideas but the order of execution makes the overall strategy completely delusional and makes me think that you’re overlooking quite a few other factors.

            “Time to either go big, go home, or look for alternatives. I’m looking for the alternatives.”

            You’re “alternative” is to go home and then figure out what to do next. That’s not smart at all. You must have agreements from sovereign to sovereign first, and then when you know the value and costs you can plan the rest. And often in those deals you’ll get some direct contribution from the other sovereigns but at the very least you’ll get estimates for the market values and understand strategic benefits and so forth. It’s going backwards doing it any other way.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As for cultural hegemony, that **is** an issue in the Middle East. You may consider the Muslims to have cultural standards that are subhuman and substandard but they consider much of western culture to be heinous.”

            Dude, don’t give me that nonsense that cultures are equal. Tolerance can never be infinite. We have to have standards. We’re not imposing a diet on them, we’re not imposing religious ritual. We’re imposing the values of freedom that are in conflict with their totalitarian religion and the culture formed by that totalitarian religion. Yes in one sense we can call it a culture clash because it is that. but it’s not the same thing as when French hippies get angry about having Disneyland in Paris. There is no Disneyland in Mecca. We don’t even demand that they allow infidels to visit Mecca. We’re not imposing our culture except when we have absolute minimum requirements.

            Our cultural hegemony comes largely from people in the region who are exposed to our culture and freely wish to adopt it. And in a few cases we’ve tried (and mostly failed) to impose our standards for human rights. Which I will not apologize for. How many wars have we started because of human rights disagreements? Not many.

            I care to some degree if I’m offending someone. I make reasonable accommodations for anyone’s feelings. To make jihadis happy, we must accommodate unreasonable expectations. We can’t be guided by unreasonable expectations from anyone.

            “We may want to drink spirits in those Muslim countries. We may want whorehouses in those Muslim countries. We may want to wear whatever we want in those Muslim countries.”

            Give me a break. Do you really think that is where the actual friction is? You’re talking like a mendacious apologist. We already ask people visiting those sovereigns to obey local laws and preferably local customs as well. That’s not where the conflict comes from.

            The conflict arises from the fact that jihadis blame Western culture for Muslim apostasy, and honestly most of them (the jihadis, not most Muslims) are offended that infidels roam free even in their (our) own lands.

            “At some point, there will be trouble arising from our exercising our cultural rights in those Muslim countries. Who’s to say that our Western rights should be transferrable to Muslim lands?”

            Very few people if any are saying that we should be able to carry our culture intact when we travel. You have the arguments backwards. It is the jihadis that want to have zero tolerance where they have control or influence and that includes for example refusing to accommodate seeing eye dogs all the way to vandalizing liquor stores and various lawfare efforts IN THE USA.

            They’re not the victims. But you’re trying to convey that they are just because we have military hegemony and try to enforce very minimum standards for human rights that are derived from our culture. We do NOT have any kind of dominant coercive cultural hegemony.

          • truebearing

            “I think he’s only interested in reducing our military presence around the world for budgetary reasons.”

            Another knee-slapper. Obama has spent more money then all previous presidents combined. He squanders trillions of dollars on all kinds of nonsense, but he wants to diminish the military in a time that is seeing a meteoric rise in violence and terror by Muslims, a renewed hostility with Russia, and China building up a massive military at a tremendous rate. Brilliant.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Let me give you one clear example of what a leader would promote if he or she wanted to achieve the goals that 0′Bama claims to want to.

            With regard to “green” energy, if we’re worried first about “climate” risk, we should have a multiphase plan to pivot to electric energy produced by nuclear power plants for the first phase. As people are drawn to electricity, other “greener” technologies will emerge, especially if we create modest tax incentives (not subsidies) for successful products (not having POTUS or other elites choose companies or specific technologies they believe will win in the end).

            It’s a little easier to see how insincere and dimwitted his energy policy is than to step through every foreign policy fallacy that he promotes. But in fact that are related. His foreign policy, energy policy and trade policies (as far as we know) all favor diminishing the USA’s power and “success” as a way of “standing up” developing nations because fundamentally POTUS is another dupe of neo-Marxist thinking that supposes wealth is a finite resource that must be “shared fairly.”

            All of his foreign policy is consistent with his cosmopolitan-globalist theories about the world. America is exceptional – to Americans. Which is to say, it’s not exceptional at all. We’re biased because we got arrogant after our ancestors “exploited” certain “others.” According to his worldview, when we’re not seen as or see ourselves as “exceptional,” a lot of America’s and “the world’s” problems with be solved.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            What exactly do you suppose he means by “lead from behind?”

            A superpower can’t “lead from behind” until it stops being a superpower.

            That’s just a clue. If that is all I had, I would just consider it a stupid throwaway phrase. But it is consistent with his entire worldview and his actions.

        • Americana

          “A strong, secular and fair national sovereign supported by a constitution similar to our own” is what the Iraqis were asked to undertake under their own recognizance w/American guidance. They got it done, sort of, but then failed in the execution because of sectarianism and, eventually, Muslim jihadist fighting

          Now that is a pretty “out there” statement about the “blasphemous infidels doing something to the Turkish empire.” What possible reason would Pres. Obama have for bemoaning the demise of the Turkish empire? This is especially odd to suggest considering that the jihadi aims for the region don’t all aim for the recreation of the Turkish empire,

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “What possible reason would Pres. Obama have for bemoaning the demise of the Turkish empire?”

            He doesn’t personally care that much about any history except use it to fit in to the neo-Marxist explanations for all conflict.

            “This is especially odd to suggest considering that the jihadi aims for the region don’t all aim for the recreation of the Turkish empire,”

            Hopefully you understand that many Sunnis see the Ottoman Empire of the past as the last legitimate Muslim sovereign or host for the Caliph. It varies from person to person of course but for most Sunnis it’s not about being Turkish but about hosting the Caliph and the legitimacy that brings.

  • liz

    This is a perfect example of Obama’s major disconnect from reality.
    He’s perfected the ability to ignore major crises, and simply believe his own lies about how they can be resolved. This allows him to avoid all responsibility, and continue pursuing his fantasies of creating a socialist Utopia by executive order.

  • Rick

    Daniel,

    Maybe I missed it, but did you forget to mention that Obama
    managed to work in a Golf Game along with his fund raiser, while innocent people
    are butchered by insane barbarians?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      how else

      • objectivefactsmatter

        It’s figuratively and literally par for the course these days.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          excellent

  • hiernonymous

    By “realist,” I mean the Realist school of international relations.

    “To be a true realist, you have to understand all of the realities, not just material realities. You have to understand ideology even if you’re not driven by it.”

    No, to be a Realist you have to believe that the focus of international relations is national security, and that the standard by which all foreign policy decisions are made is the national interests of the state. Humanitarian, ethical, and ideological considerations take a back seat to the question “does this make us stronger or weaker relative to other states?” In traditional international relations theory, Realist schools are contrasted with Idealist schools, such as Wilson’s liberal internationalism.

    I’m sorry, I made the mistake of using a technical term without identifying the frame of reference, and there’s no reason to have expected you to pick up on that.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      My fault. I assumed you’d understand I was distinguishing between Realist and realist (or “true realist’), not arguing with your use of terms.

      Being realistic to me is making sure you’re striving to factor everything realistically. And I find terms some times ironic when “Realists” end up being myopic by following the “dogmas of Realism.”

      Machiavelli was probably an early “Realist” who didn’t get a lot of things right either. I think he wanted to, which is a good thing. We should want to continuously strive to improve rather than lean too much on any institutional dogmas.