Saturday, September 20, 2014

Obama ISIS Plan Is Nonsense

 Washington’s Ruling Class Is Fooling Itself About The Islamic State

Angelo M. Codevilla The Federalist Sept 19, 2014

Washington's foolish approaches to the Islamic State will not destroy
 them or discourage others from following in their footsteps.

The American people’s reaction to Muslim thugs of the “Islamic State” ritually knifing off the heads of people who look like you and me boils down to “let’s destroy these bastards”—which is common sense. But our ruling class, from President Obama on the Left to The Wall Street Journal on the Right, take the public’s pressure to do this as another occasion for further indulging their longtime preferences, prejudices, and proclivities for half-measures in foreign affairs—the very things that have invited people from all over the planet to join hunting season on Americans.

This indulgence so overwhelms our ruling class’s perception of reality that the recipes put forth by its several wings, little different from one another, are identical in the one essential respect: none of them involve any plans which, if carried out, would destroy the Islamic State, kill large numbers of the cut-throats, and discourage others from following in their footsteps. Hence, like the George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and for the same reasons, this exercise of our ruling class’s wisdom in foreign affairs will decrease respect for us while invigorating our enemies.

The WSJ’s recommendations, like the Obama administration’s projected activities, are all about discrete measures—some air strikes, some arming of local forces, etc. But they abstract from the fundamental reality of any and all activities: He who wills any end must will the means to achieve it. As in Bush’s war, as is the custom in Washington nowadays, our ruling class’s several sectors decide what actions they feel comfortable undertaking about any given problem, while avoiding reasonable judgment about whether these actions will actually fix the problem. This is the very definition of irresponsibility. But they call it “strategy.”

Irresponsibly Avoiding Debate

Our Constitution prescribes that war happens subsequent to votes by elected representatives. By debate and vote, presumably they reconcile the war’s ends with the means to be employed. But to reconcile ends and means is to banish illusions and pretenses. Yet because these are what our ruling class lives by, leaders of both parties have joined to preclude such debates and votes. They granted congressional funding for the one part of Obama’s venture with regard to the IS that required it—arming some of the Sunni rebels against Syria’s Assad regime—while avoiding votes on what precisely that or any other part of the venture means. This is textbook irresponsibility.

To reconcile ends and means is to banish illusions and pretenses.

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine veteran, objected: “We need to crush ISIS and not work on arming more Islamic radicals. Just what would arming these people accomplish?” To prevent massive numbers of Republican congressmen from joining this common-sense question, the House Armed Services Committee’s bill requires the administration to  answer it in a report to Congress some time in the future, but not now. The fact that the administration and the leaders of both parties—the ruling class—did not make reasoned answers to the key questions the primary premise of their request suggests not so much that they are hiding these answers from others as much as that they themselves have not addressed the questions.

In the Senate, the ruling class avoided any vote at all by placing the money for arming the Sunni rebels into the Continuing Resolution for keeping the government open. This device, which reduces the senators’ choice to funding everything the the ruling class wants or “shutting down the government,” has become the principal way by which the ruling class dispenses with the Constitution.

Experience Says We’re Crazy

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)’s common-sense objection to arming the Sunni rebels might as well have been voiced by any ordinary citizen for all the effect it had: “Our past experience, after 13 years, everything that we have tried to do has not proven to be beneficial, not proven at all. So what makes you think it’s going to be different this time? What makes you think we can ask a group of Islamists to agree with Americans to fight another group of Islamists, as barbaric as they may be?”

The WSJ notwithstanding, while the ‘moderates’ will take U.S. money and arms, no amount of ‘vetting’ will or can cause them to fight the IS for us.

The answer is that our ruling class does not think, as much as it indulges its imagination and believes its own spin. A prime example of which is the Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial of September 17. Never mind that the Islamic State’s Sunni subjects welcome the ritual beheaders who rule over them because these are Sunni as well. “The brutality,” writes the WSJ, “has created conditions similar to those that preceded the Sunni Awakening in Iraq in 2007—the revolt by ordinary Sunnis and their tribal leaders in Anbar province against al Qaeda.” This follows the Bush administration’s spin concerning the so-called “surge.” In fact however, Iraq’s Sunnis sought America’s protection in 2007 not against any other Sunnis but against the Shia death squads that had begun massacring them in large numbers.

According to the same fantasy, conducting air strikes today against the IS in former Iraq and Syria would encourage its Sunni-Wahabi fighters to defect to the ranks of U.S.-supported “moderate” Sunnis. This neglects not only that the flow of fighters in the region has always gone only in one direction—away from the less pure and less brutal to the purer and most brutal Islamists. It also neglects the incommensurability of the two sets of fighters’ objectives. The “moderates” are mostly Syrians interested in governing Syria, while the Islamic State’s fighters are led by Saddam’s Iraqi cadre, have fighters from all over the world, and have pan-Islamic objectives. Joe Manchin is right. The WSJ notwithstanding, while the “moderates” will take U.S. money and arms, no amount of “vetting” will or can cause them to fight the IS for us.

While Obama limits himself to unexplained confidence that Sunni Arab states will join in fighting the IS, the Journal supposes to know why they have not done so yet, and why instead they have been helping the jihadis: because our aid to the right Sunnis in 2012 and 2013 was “microscopic and half hearted.” This was the aid being brokered by the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and cut off by mortar shells expertly aimed by we know not whom. But the WSJ knows who’s to blame for the Sunni Arabs’ failure to meet the ruling class’s expectations: “Some Conservatives.”

Get Your Heads Out of The Sand

Like the Bush administration, Obama and the Journal are grasping at what they imagine to be a vast reservoir of inherently moderate Sunni peoples and governments. Just show them how pro-Sunni America really is, and this vast moderate wave will submerge the terrorist threat to America. Thus the Journal writes that we dare not just make war on the IS that makes war on us. No. “Sunnis will not support the campaign against Islamic State if they think our air strikes are intended to help the regime in Damascus and its Shiite allies in Beirut and Tehran.” You see, the real game lies in making nice to Sunnis.

Believing in the saving power of a ‘moderate Sunni’ wave is as politically correct though patently silly as believing in global warming after years of record cold.

Obama has made clear that he envisages a very limited, tightly targeted air campaign against the IS. It goes without saying that this cannot possibly hurt it severely. But, were the U.S. government somehow to mount a serious air campaign, nevertheless the inescapable fact remains that the IS can be finished off only on the ground. But how? By whom? Obama stays away from the question. The Journal, however answers: “the Kurds, the parts of the Iraqi military that aren’t dominated by Iran’s militias, and the moderate Sunnis in Syria and Iraq.”

This is beyond dumb. Believing in the saving power of a “moderate Sunni” wave is as politically correct though patently silly as believing in global warming after years of record cold. All know that the Kurds will fight only for Kurdistan. The Iraqi army has proved beyond doubt that, as a fighting force, it exists only insofar as it is composed of Shiite militias. But our inward-looking, bipartisan ruling class refuses to deal with reality. War consists of massive killing that dispirits the survivors. Yet our ruling class refuses to consider how many of what categories of people will have to be killed in order to end this war with the peace we want. War does not tolerate solipsism.

Yet again, consensus within the ruling class is setting America on course to demonstrate impotence.  Its preferences, prejudices, and proclivities guarantee that the Islamic State and those among us whom it inspires will be a growing problem as months and years pass. Harsh consequences will follow until a political vehicle for the expression of the American people’s common sense comes into being.

Angelo M. Codevilla is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace, Hoover Institution Press, 2014.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Extent of the US Betrayal of Israel, Part I

Few Americans are aware of the pressure the Obama administration is placing on Israel to, in effect, commit national suicide in its conflict with the terrorist regime in Gaza.  Since the US has, up until now, given Israel great support economically and with munitions and military hardware, we have considerable influence on that nation, the only one in the Middle East that stands for and practices western principles of universal human rights.

The following column by Caroline Glick, an Israeli, details the extent of our deceit.  The article is a long one, so I am presenting it in two parts. Go to the link to read it all, or see part II tomorrow.

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi Alliance

By Caroline Glick - August 23, 2014 RealClearPolitics

Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event. It is happening in the context of the vast changes that are casting asunder old patterns of behavior and strategic understandings as actors in the region begin to reassess the threats they face.

Hamas was once funded by Saudi Arabia and enabled by Egypt. Now the regimes of these countries view it as part of a larger axis of Sunni jihad that threatens not only Israel, but them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey, are the key members of this alliance structure. Without their support Hamas would have gone down with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last summer. As it stands, all view Hamas’s war with Israel as a means of reinstating the Brotherhood to power in that country.

To achieve a Hamas victory, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are using Western support for Hamas against Israel. If the US and the EU are able to coerce Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza, then the Western powers will hand the jihadist axis a strategic victory.

The implications of such a victory would be dire.

Hamas is ideologically indistinguishable from Islamic State. Like Islamic State, Hamas has developed mass slaughter and psychological terrorization as the primary tools in its military doctrine. If the US and the EU force Israel and Egypt to open Gaza’s borders, they will enable Hamas to achieve strategic and political stability in Gaza. As a consequence, a post-war Gaza will quickly become a local version of Islamic State-controlled Mosul.

In the first instance, such a development will render life in southern Israel too imperiled to sustain. The Western Negev, and perhaps Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, will become uninhabitable.

Then there is Judea and Samaria. If, as the US demands, Israel allows Gaza to reconnect with Judea and Samaria, in short order Hamas will dominate the areas. Militarily, the transfer of even a few of the thousands of rocket-propelled grenades Hamas has in Gaza will imperil military forces and civilians alike.

IDF armored vehicles and armored civilian buses will be blown to smithereens.

Whereas operating from Gaza, Hamas needed the assistance of the Obama administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down Ben-Gurion Airport, from Judea and Samaria, all Hamas would require are a couple of hand-held mortars.

Jordan will also be directly threatened.

From Egypt’s perspective, a Hamas victory in the war with Israel that connects Gaza to Sinai will strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic State and other allies. Such a development represents a critical threat to the regime.

And this brings us to Islamic State itself. It couldn’t have grown to its current monstrous proportions without the support of Qatar and Turkey.

Islamic State is obviously interested in expanding its conquests. Since it views itself as a state, its next move must be one that enables it to take over a national economy. The raid on Mosul’s central bank will not suffice to finance its operations for very long.

At this point, Islamic State wishes to avoid an all-out confrontation with Iran, so moving into southern Iraq is probably not in the cards. US forces in Kuwait, and the strength and unity of purpose of the Jordanian military, probably take both kingdoms off Islamic State’s chopping block for now.

This leaves Saudi Arabia, or parts of it, as a likely next target for Islamic State expansion.

Islamic State’s current operations in Lebanon, which threaten the Saudi-supported regime there, indicate that Lebanon, at a minimum, is also at grave risk.

Then there is Iran. Iran is not a member of the Sunni jihadist axis. But when it comes to Israel and the non-jihadist regimes, it has cooperated with it.

Iran has funded, trained and armed Hamas for the past decade. It views Hamas’s war with Israel in the same light as it viewed its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah’s war with Israel eight years ago.

Both in Iraq and Syria, Iran and Islamic State have shown little interest in making one another their primary target. Turkey and Qatar have often served as Iran’s supporters in the Sunni world.

This is the context in which Israel is fighting its war with Hamas. And due to this context, two interrelated strategically significant events have occurred since the war began.

The first relates to the US.

The Obama administration’s decision to side with the members of the jihadist axis against Israel by adopting their demand to open Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt has served as the final nail in the coffin of America’s strategic credibility among its traditional regional allies.

As the US has stood with Hamas, it has also maintained its pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. The US’s position in these talks is to enable the mullocracy to follow North Korea’s path to a nuclear arsenal. The non-jihadist Sunni states share Israel’s conviction that they cannot survive a nuclear armed Iran.

Finally, President Barack Obama’s refusal to date to take offensive action to destroy Islamic State in Iraq and Syria demonstrates to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that under Obama, the US would rather allow Islamic State to expand into their territory and destroy them than return US military forces to Iraq.

In other words, Obama’s pro-Hamas-, pro-Iran- and pro-Muslim Brotherhood-axis policies, along with his refusal to date to take effective action in Iraq and Syria to obliterate Islamic State, have convinced the US’s traditional allies that for the next two-and-a-half years, not only can they not rely on the US, they cannot discount the possibility of the US taking actions that harm them.

It is in the face of the US’s shift of allegiances under Obama that the non-jihadist Sunni regimes have begun to reevaluate their ties to Israel. Until the Obama presidency, the Saudis and Egyptians felt secure in their alliance with the US. Consequently, they never felt it necessary or even desirable to consider Israel as a strategic partner.

Under the US’s strategic protection, the traditional Sunni regimes had the luxury of maintaining their support for Palestinian terrorists and rejecting the notion of strategic cooperation with Israel, whether against Iran, al-Qaida or any other common foe.

So sequestered by the US, Israel became convinced that the only way it could enjoy any benefit from its shared strategic interests with its neighbors was by first bowing to the US’s long-held obsession with strengthening the PLO. This has involved surrendering land, political legitimacy and money to the terror group still committed to Israel’s destruction.

The war with Hamas has changed all of this.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Current State of Obamacare Issues

So many disasters are occurring both at home and in the outside world (Ferguson, IRS, Illegals swamping the border, Muslim terrorism and butchery, Jihadist advances throughout the Middle East, ebola); the issues associated with Obamacare have been swept off the front page.

This is a report listing the current state of those issues, which still need to be exploited by Republicans in the election this year.

1. Big premium hikes are slated for 2015. Because the country erupted in outrage over the millions of policies cancelled under Obamacare, which made a lie of the president’s vow, “If you like your insurance you can keep it,” the White House reversed course and allowed people to maintain existing coverage. As a result, the Obamacare exchanges were starved of the healthier people needed to pay for the sick and poor previously without insurance. Insurers are now planning to raise premiums.
According to PwC Health Research Institute, the average premium increase request for 2105 in North Carolina is 10.8 percent; in Iowa the hike is 11.5 percent. Many in Louisiana are looking at almost a 20 percent increase, and in Arkansas nearly 12 percent. That’s big, unpleasant news for Democrats.

2. Critics claim the Obama administration is fudging the ACA enrollment numbers. The White House trumpeted that 8 million Americans had signed up for Obamacare, but that total has been shrinking. Aetna, one of the program’s biggest players, reports that of their 720,000 enrollees, only about 600,000 are paying for their coverage, a number they expect will drop to about 500,000 by year-end. Other insurers indicate fall-off as well.

3. People are angry about the narrower choices of doctors and hospitals available to them.  In New Hampshire, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield was the sole insurer participating in the marketplace; it eliminated 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from its network. According to Politico, such is the uproar about shrinking choices that “since the beginning of 2013, more than 70 bills have been introduced in 22 states to clarify the network rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.” In California, more than one group has sued Anthem Blue Cross, charging that the insurer misrepresented the scope of its doctor network
Related: Up to 300,000 Could Lose Obamacare on Federal Exchange
4. The ACA was constructed incompetently. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently ruled illegal the federal subsidies paid to Obamacare enrollees in states that have not set up their own exchanges -- a stark reminder of how badly the healthcare bill was implemented. This and other unintended consequences are excellent arguments for significantly overhauling the ACA – an undertaking that might be possible under a Republican Senate but that has little or no hope otherwise.

5. Obamacare highlights the president’s imperial tendencies. Mr. Obama has single-handedly changed the ACA some 24 times, delaying important provisions such as the employer and individual mandates. The president has rigged the rollout of the ACA to political advantage, putting off the most painful aspects of the bill and front-loading the goodies. Republicans should remind voters we have yet to encounter, for instance, the 40 percent Cadillac tax, which has been pushed back until 2018, but which is expected to raise as much as $214 billion by 2023.

6. Obamacare undermines job creation. The ACA has been the most important of a number of White House policies that have discouraged job creation at a time when the country is struggling to put people back to work. At last tally, there were 92 million adult Americans who are not working (like stay-at-home moms), are unemployed, retired or disabled. The workforce participation rate is at a decades-long low. This is unsustainable, and Obamacare is not helping. Companies have limited their hiring and also the number of hours their employers work because of the bill and have faced increased uncertainty. Meanwhile, because of the ACA, Americans no longer need to work to get health benefits – maybe a good thing for individuals, but not for a country whose safety net must be funded by an ever-greater workforce.

In short, there’s still meat on the bones of the Obamacare carcass; Republicans running for office should get out their knives and forks.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ben Stein on President Obama

Ben Stein is a very decent and talented man who usually gets things right and writes about them brilliantly.

Ben Stein's Diary

Moral Decency in Disintegration

A President who at heart hates America.

By Ben Stein – 8.16.14

A trip up to the charming town of Sandpoint. It went well except that our flight from SEA to Spokane was postponed for an hour. We took an earlier flight but then my wife’s luggage was not in Spokane. We had to wait two hours for that. We passed the time at a fine local Spokane restaurant called the Rusty Moose. Good food, good service.

We sat at the bar and next to us were two soldiers. One of them was quiet. The other was talkative. He wanted to know if I thought there was much of a future for civilization.

“We Americans come from the Enlightenment,” he said. “But how many other countries have the values of respect for law, respect for human dignity, respect for the individual that we have?”

“Maybe Israel and the UK,” I said.

“Right,” said the soldier. “That was my count, too.”

This is a conversation I have been having often. People just come up to me and ask me if I think civilization has a future, if I think human decency has a future.

I blame Mr. Obama and his wicked clique for this. Despite an enormous edge in wealth, military might, and moral power, the United States has abandoned the field to the terrorists and bullies and killers and enslavers of women.

A few days ago, Mr. Obama said we were going to save the Yazidis trapped in the middle of ISIS control. He did almost nothing. Today, ISIS murdered roughly 100 Yazidis because they would not convert to Islam (the religion of peace). In retaliation, Mr Obama sent two drones to blow up two ISIS pickup trucks. This is just great. The U.S. spends roughly $620 billion per year on defense. With a genocide looming, Mr. Obama can muster up the strength to send out two drones to destroy two pickup trucks.

This is pitiful. Beyond pitiful. In this incident, we can see that Barack Obama is just too paralyzed by his hatred of America and European civilization to bestir himself to help that civilization’s values. Obama is another Angry Black Man, better covered up than most, but not a fan of American values of compassion and caring. He is too angry to be compassionate or empathetic. He has to worry about himself and Michelle.

That means no helping the poor Nigerians against Boko Haram rapists. No helping of any kind in Arab Africa, which has been led by Arab Spring into a deep hell of violence and lawlessness. No helping the Ukrainians as they struggle against their violent neighbor. It means contempt for the only country in the world with its existence at stake every day — Israel — which is still the most civilized country in the world east of Anglia.

Mr. Obama sides with the killers and the fanatics almost every time by not helping the victims of these people.

The result? The world is aflame and Mr. Obama is playing golf and the flames get higher. The uber-genius Mark Steyn wrote about America Alone. It’s worse than that. It’s America alone with a man who in his heart hates America the way his Kenyan father hated the British (a theory I learned about from the very smart Dinesh D’Souza).

As the crazies of the world circle around, our leader walks away from responsibility, plays golf with plutocrats on Martha’s Vineyard, and gets some satisfaction in seeing moral decency in disintegration worldwide.

This is a terrifying time. I’m glad I am in Sandpoint, where I feel safe even if I am not.

Copyright 2013, The American Spectator. All rights reserved.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Re Rick Perry - Let's Turn the Tables

I was not much impressed by Rick Perry during the 2012 campaign, but when he recently sent the National Guard to the Texas border, he got my vote for 2016. Just as the Democrats have destroyed with personal attacks supported by an hysterical and corrupt media other Republicans they consider powerful adversaries (Palin, Christie, Judge Bork, Tom Delay to name just a few), they are now out to 'get' Perry.

The Partisan Farce to Get Rick Perry

Aug 17, 2014 Bloomberg

By The Editors

Rosemary Lehmberg, the Democratic district attorney in Travis County, Texas, spent three weeks in jail last year for drunken driving, prompting Republican Governor Rick Perry to call on her to resign. She refused -- and now her supporters hope to have the last laugh by sending Perry away for a lot longer. The criminal case against him is a farce and should be dismissed faster than prairie fire with a tail wind.

Lehmberg’s run-in with the law drew public attention not only because she had an open bottle of vodka in her car and a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, but also because a police video exposed her acting belligerently toward the officers. The judge in the case called her behavior “deplorable.” Since Perry misses few opportunities to engage in partisan grandstanding, he vowed to veto funding for the district attorney’s public integrity unit unless she resigned. Perry argued that, as a result of her conduct, Lehmberg was not fit to oversee the unit, which investigates possible ethics violations.

Partisan motivations aside, it was fair to call her judgment into question -- and Perry followed through on his vow with a line-item veto. Round one to the Republicans.

Next, a liberal advocacy group, Texans for Public Justice, persuaded a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Perry’s veto threat constituted an abuse of power. Proving the legal maxim that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, Perry now faces two indictments for abusing the powers of his office. One of them rests on a Texas law that forbids elected officials to misuse “government property, services or personnel" -- which is clearly not what happened here. The second prohibits officials from engaging in coercion, a crime that is akin to bribery. Few legal observers give the prosecution much chance for success in court. But conviction isn't the goal here. Harassment and humiliation are. Soon, Perry will have to turn himself in to police. Round two to the Democrats.

This would be ordinary partisan tit for tat, except that a law enforcement office is involved. Political disputes should be resolved in political venues -- legislative bodies and public debates -- not in criminal courts. If Perry’s veto is an abuse of power, then the state legislature could impeach him, as it did Texas Governor James “Pa” Ferguson nearly 100 years ago. Impeachment, however, is entirely unnecessary: The legislature could simply vote to override Perry’s line-item veto. For failing to do so, should the entire legislature be indicted?

Of course not. Perry is guilty of partisan behavior, not felonious conduct. There's been no evidence to support the claim that he vetoed the funds to prevent the public integrity unit from investigating allegations of impropriety by the state’s Cancer Prevention and Research Center.

Much of the commentary following the indictment has involved speculation about how much it will damage Perry’s presidential aspirations. Some liberal pundits seem gleeful. Don’t be fooled. This is more likely to rally Republicans to Perry’s side -- earning him new supporters and donors -- and to make Texas Democrats look as craven as the Republicans who are seeking to impeach President Barack Obama. And that will mean giving back round two. .


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Another Instance of Obama's Duplicity on Israel

A new Wall Street Journal report reveals that President Barack Obama's administration blocked a shipment of missiles to Israel in late July and tightened additional weapons shipment procedures to Israel, revealing increasing tensions between the two governments.

The U.S. decision to tighten arms transfers to Israel comes as the UK threatens similar actions. On Tuesday, the British government announced the suspension of 12 arms export licenses to Israel if fighting resumed in Gaza.

The Wednesday night report cites officials in the Obama administration who say Israel had requested a large number of Hellfire missiles directly through military-to-military channels, for which no additional administration approvals are required. An initial batch of the missiles was about to be shipped, according to sources in Israel and the U.S. Congress.

At that point, the administration stepped in and put the transfer on hold. Top White House officials instructed various U.S. military agencies to consult with the U.S. State Department before approving any additional arms requests from Israel.

The decision to clamp down on future transfers was the equivalent of "the United States saying 'the buck stops here. Wait a second. …It's not OK anymore,'" said one official. 

An Israeli defense official confirmed the reports, saying, "The U.S. delayed a shipment of Hellfire missiles to the Israeli air force" in the face of “national tension" with Israel.

Obama has not been on the same page as Israel in terms of Israel’s operation in Gaza, making various attempts to press Israel into accepting a truce with Hamas, even under terms unpalatable to the Israeli government.

After one instance where America allegedly pressured Israel into a ceasefire that was violated within 90 minutes by a Hamas attack which killed several Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told the administration "not to ever second guess me again."

According to U.S. officials cited in The Wall Street Journal report, a Wednesday night phone call between Obama and Netanyahu was "particularly combative."

A turning point appeared to be Israel’s July 30 IDF strike on terrorists adjacent to a UN school, which the U.S. slammed as “disgraceful.”

In response, the IDF confirmed it targeted Islamic Jihad terrorists in the vicinity of the school and provided video evidence that Hamas had fired rockets from inside schools.

The U.S. administration has since required White House and State Department approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say.

Instead of being handled as a military-to-military matter, each case is now subject to review, slowing the approval process--and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.

Reaction from HotAir:

If the standard review process was followed, then why was the White House “caught off guard”? Isn’t it incumbent on the Obama administration to know how the sale and transfer process works?  Israel had conducted a ground war — much to the chagrin of Obama and his “policymakers” — for a few weeks. Why wouldn’t anyone have expected Israel to replenish its supplies? Surely there are a few people who may have at least watched Patton if not studied Clausewitz in this administration. Resupply is a basic function for any army at war.

Surprise in this case springs from willful ignorance, as Jeff Dunetz notes. On Morning Joe today, Jim Miklaszewski told Joe Scarborough that the stockpiles in Israel are routinely tapped for resupply, and that the Pentagon knew all about it at the time — even discussing it openly with the press when the transfer occurred. Miklaszewski scoffed at the notion that the White House would have been caught off-guard about it unless they wanted some plausible deniability.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

American Army to Revert to 1940 Size

I suppose it should not surprise me that our corrupt mass media would be so silent about the plan that President Obama and Secretary of Defense Hagel have hatched to reduce our armed forces to their lowest level since before World War II. I think this plan is reckless and greatly endangers our security at a time that the world is falling apart.  Is this the culmination of Obama's grand plan?  Will our soldiers also train with wooden, fake rifles as in 1940?

New York Times (excerpt)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

The proposal, released on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

Officials who saw an early draft of the announcement acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.

“You have to always keep your institution prepared, but you can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war,” a senior Pentagon official said.

Outlines of some of the budget initiatives, which are subject to congressional approval, have surfaced, an indication that even in advance of its release the budget is certain to come under political attack.

For example, some members of Congress, given advance notice of plans to retire air wings, have vowed legislative action to block the move, and the National Guard Association, an advocacy group for those part-time military personnel, is circulating talking points urging Congress to reject anticipated cuts. State governors are certain to weigh in, as well. And defense-industry officials and members of Congress in those port communities can be expected to oppose any initiatives to slow Navy shipbuilding.

Even so, officials said that despite budget reductions, the military would have the money to remain the most capable in the world and that Mr. Hagel’s proposals have the endorsement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Money saved by reducing the number of personnel, they said, would assure that those remaining in uniform would be well trained and supplied with the best weaponry.

The new American way of war will be underscored in Mr. Hagel’s budget, which protects money for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. And in an indication of the priority given to overseas military presence that does not require a land force, the proposal will — at least for one year — maintain the current number of aircraft carriers at 11.

Over all, Mr. Hagel’s proposal, the officials said, is designed to allow the American military to fulfill President Obama’s national security directives: to defend American territory and the nation’s interests overseas and to deter aggression — and to win decisively if again ordered to war.

“We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” the official said. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.”

Mr. Hagel’s plan would most significantly reshape America’s land forces — active-duty soldiers as well as those in the National Guard and Reserve.

The Army, which took on the brunt of the fighting and the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, already was scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under Mr. Hagel’s proposals, the Army would drop over the coming years to between 440,000 and 450,000.

That would be the smallest United States Army since 1940. For years, and especially during the Cold War, the Pentagon argued that it needed a military large enough to fight two wars simultaneously — say, in Europe and Asia. In more recent budget and strategy documents, the military has been ordered to be prepared to decisively win one conflict while holding off an adversary’s aspirations in a second until sufficient forces could be mobilized and redeployed to win there." New York Times

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