09/12/14

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 09/12/14

The Watcher’s Council


U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas claps before speaking at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the site for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston.

Did you know? — Because none of them are making headlines and all are deadly serious:

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“There is no substitute for victory… It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” – General Douglas MacArthur

“Sons of Islam everywhere, the jihad is a duty – to establish the rule of Allah on earth and to liberate your countries and yourselves from America’s domination and its Zionist allies, it is your battle – either victory or martyrdom.” – Ahmed Yassin, AKA The Blind Sheik

“We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.” – Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini

“My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.” – General William Tecumseh Sherman

A lot has been said about The Islamic State, not least by our president who laid out last night what he considers a strategy… although of course, as our Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN, we’re not, you know, actually at war. The day before, I finished a piece I’d been working on for a while at Joshuapundit, Defeating The Islamic State that puts forth the proposition that we are very much at war and have been for some time as our leaders continue to deny it – and how to go about winning it.

Here’s a slice:

President Obama has revealed – surprise! – that he has no strategy for even combating, let alone defeating Islamic State. His excuse is that he’s ordered his military advisers to give him “a range of options,” which is another confession of how inept this president is.

He’s known about Islamic State (formerly ISIS) for a long time now now, and even had a significant part in Islamic State’s growth, arming and training them with the assistance of Turkey and Qatar.The mess with Islamic State is very much of Barack Obama’s making. And let’s not forget that his illegal intervention in Libya to save the jihadis and al-Qaeda militias in Benghazi, that allowed all of Khaddaffi’s arsenal fall into jihadi hands and created a failed state now known as ‘jihadi central’ where groups like Islamic State’s allies al Nusrah, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and others now have a base to arm and train.

Yet, after all that, this president never bothered to have our military put together a contingency plan to deal with any possible blowback, and is just now consulting with the military and ‘waiting for options!’

In the president’s actual statement, he of course substituted ‘we’ rather then ‘he’, because as you know, nothing is ever his fault.I actually know children who are more responsible when they’re confronted by an error.

But the problem of defeating Islamic State is not as simple as it seems. The president’s dysfunctional buffoonery aside, there are a lot of considerations here that need to be looked at.

The first part of making any decision is actually having definable foreign policy goals, something this president seems to lack except for his fetish for empowering and protecting Islamists.

So job one, the way I see it, is to formulate such goals. I think eliminating imminent security risks to America is a good one. And if that’s the goal, simply bombing the hummus out of Islamic State, something I’ve heard a lot of people push for, won’t do it. The reverse in fact.

It has apparently never occurred to them that odious as Islamic State is, they are a counterbalance to an almost equally odious Iranian regime. Taking out Islamic State only helps Iran and the likes of Hezbollah consolidate their goal of a nuclear armed Shi’ite bloc.

That, by the way, is one of the main reasons why taking out Saddam Hussein was such a dumb idea, and why old hands like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to talk George W. Bush out of it.

Iran has been gulling the West on their rogue nuclear weapons program for almost a decade now, and here has been no progress in terms of diplomacy in getting them to stop, while the centrifuges keep spinning. Nor will there be. Iran is the key to this situation, and a much more serious threat than Islamic State.

So, how to accomplish the goal of eliminating these security threats to America?

The first thing, of course, is to be honest at long last and finally let the peoples of the West know what we’re fighting. Call it Islamism, Islamic fascism, Radical Islam, jihad, whatever you will. But identifying it without tiptoeing around it and letting the peoples of the West know what’s at stake is key. We are fighting an ideology. And it’s an ideology that has to be shamed, demonized and ridiculed, especially in the West, with no false notions about political correctness. Propaganda works both ways:

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/33/41/cc/3341ccdfa3d64dc0df0f178300e98312.jpg

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/legacy/features/warandpeace/graphics/program3/image5.jpg

http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/45205-5/us-propaganda+poster

The West needs to understand what characterizes jihad, and that while Islamic State is a Sunni organization, the same applies to Iran, the other, Shi’ite side of the same coin. We are not dealing with rational actors as we understand the term, and we need to understand the dedication and fanaticism of our enemies, just as we did in WWII. And we need to also understand that this needs to be a war, not an ‘operation’  or a few desultory airstrikes. This video, from Islamic State about the taking of Mosul and surrounding areas is valuable in achieving that perspective:>

The simplest and best first step is the old one of arming and strengthening our friends while destroying our enemies. To me, that means a strong and independent Kurdistan that’s a US ally, while leaving the Shi’ites to hold their line in the south near Baghdad. There’s no sense whatsoever in giving the Shi’ite regime in Iraq much more in money and support. They’ve already had over $25 billion in arms, training and logistics lavished on them and have performed with all the martial fervor and expertise of the majority of the ARVN troops in South Vietnam. All those shiny American arms and supplies ended up in Islamic State’s hands. But the Iraqi army can can probably manage to hold a line at Baghdad and points south, especially if The Islamic State has other fronts to worry about.

The Kurds, on the other hand have already proven that in anything like an equal fight they can hold their own and win. And they would also have the incentive of fighting for an independent Kurdistan, a dream they’ve had for years. Kurdistan is where we should have made out base and our stand in the beginning, a naturally democratic,pro-American enclave that begged us to do so. At least they were pro-American until they were betrayed by President Bush and President Obama, but I think the relationship with the Kurds is salvageable, although perhaps not with President Obama in power.

The next step would be a much improved relationship with Israel. This would include a joint project for a pre-emptive strike to take out Iran’s nukes and Iran’s capacity to cause mischief to anyone for some time. Tactical nukes might unfortunately be necessary. At this point, it would almost certainly be necessary to take out Iran’s oil and gas infrastructure and refineries as well to make sure their nuclear ambitions stay dormant, something that could have been avoided had the job been done a lot earlier.

I would also leave the carnage and destruction intact,certainly as long as any semblance of the present regime is in power.Some monuments are built of stone, others of rubble. But both fulfill a similar function, that of remembrance. Just ask the Germans and the Japanese.

I repeat, Iran is the key to the region, not Islamic State. And Iran can be dealt with, more or less swiftly and decisively because of its systemic vulnerabilities, its fixed address and its lack of sufficient air and sea power. This is not to say that a strike on Iran would be without cost, but the cost will be infinitely less if it is done now before Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability than later.President Obama’s thoughts about strategy to the contrary, a nuclear amred Shi’ite block is not going to be something that can be worked with or ‘contained.’ Iran’s demographics and plunging birthrate doesn’t give Iran much time to put the Shi’ite hegemony they want together, and the Ayatollahs know it.

It is our failure to deal effectively with Iran, it’s fomenting of terrorism and its rogue nuclear program that has caused the present crisis.If not for that, the Russians would not be a factor and Basher Assad would have had to come to terms with Syria’s Sunni majority. Instead, he had the means to expel millions of them.

Without the war in Syria,  ISIS would never have received arms and training covertly from the Obama Administration, with the help of Turkey and Qatar. Without Iran, Iraq’s Shi’ites would have had to compromise with the Sunnis and Kurds and disaffected Sunnis would not have allied themselves with ISIS,Islamic State’s former identity.

There is no victory possible in this war without taking Iran off the board.

Here, members march carrying the group's black flags.

The destruction of Islamic State and its affiliated jihadis is going to be more difficult, but again not beyond our capabilities. Again, let’s remember that we are fighting an ideology. To start, were I president, I would insist on a formal declaration of war by Congress. To get that, I would have to make the case of Islamic State and it’s allied militias constituting… an imminent security risk to America, and then put forth the clear goal of its defeat and exactly what that would look like.

A Declaration of War clarifies exactly what a war is about, who the enemy is and gives a commander-in-chief certain powers that can come in handy where sedition, espionage and sabotage are concerned. And it puts congress on board in a much more decisive and straight forward way then foggy ‘resolutions.’ It says volumes about President Obama’s arrogance and unsuitability as commander-in-chief that his plans reportedly include not consulting congress at all. But moving on…

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with Obama’s Untruth, Inc. submitted by Joshuapundit, a classic recounting and cataloging of the many lies this president has told the American people… and quite possibly, himself as well.

Here are this week’s full results. The Colossus of Rhodey, Ask Marion, Simply Jews and Rhymes with Right were unable to vote this week. None were affected by the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

09/12/14

The Unvetted, the Compromised, and the Blackmailed

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The administration that failed to adequately “vet” Edward Snowden is saying that it has “vetted” rebels in Syria for U.S. support. “We have a Free Syrian Army and a moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with that we have vetted,” Obama told “Meet the Press” last Sunday. Our media never bother to ask for any proof of this. Who performed the vetting? How was it done?

The Obama administration doesn’t have a very good record of vetting anybody, starting at the top.

The term “vetting” means to “make a careful and critical examination of.” Another definition is to “investigate someone thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.”

The scandals in this area keep on coming. “The Office of Personnel Management will not renew any of its contracts with USIS [US Investigations Services], the major Falls Church, Va., contractor that provides the bulk of background checks for federal security clearances and was the victim of a recent cyberattack,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The paper said that USIS had conducted background clearances for National Security Agency “leaker” Edward Snowden, who fled to Moscow after disclosing secret intelligence operations to Glenn Greenwald and others.

Snowden is now living in Moscow under the protection of Vladimir Putin’s secret police. Greenwald was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

Snowden’s leaks have made it possible for America’s enemies to go on the offensive from Ukraine to the Middle East, helping to create the foreign policy problems that Obama is now pretending to confront.

USIS reported that it served “more than 20 federal agencies and has historically completed 40% of the background investigations for the U.S. Government each year, conducting approximately 21,000 background investigations per month.”

It also claims that the company “followed all OPM-mandated procedures and protocols in its background investigation of Edward Snowden.” OPM is the federal Office of Personnel Management.

So the vetters are pointing fingers.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “does not have [a] security clearance to get classified information from the feds—unlike his two predecessors—and he has never even bothered to apply for it…” The paper added, “A law enforcement source said Tuesday that if de Blasio does apply for clearance, he will have to endure an arduous vetting process that would include questions about his 1991 trip to Communist Cuba and support of the Marxist Sandinista regime during his visit to Nicaragua in the 1980s.”

Would it be the same as the “arduous vetting process” that cleared Snowden? Snowden was a high school dropout who contributed to the Ron Paul for president campaign. That was enough to get him jobs at the CIA and NSA.

As we noted at the time, de Blasio didn’t disavow his communist background once it came to light. However, he did still insist—to much laughter—that his trip to Cuba was a “honeymoon.”

Obama decided to cover up, at least in some respects. He concealed as just “Frank,” the identity of a Communist Party operative who mentored him during his growing up years in Hawaii. Analyst Trevor Loudon discovered the real identity of “Frank,” and we confirmed it.

In our September 2, 2008, column, “Who Vetted Obama?,” we noted that Obama’s 30-year history of associating with unsavory characters, beginning with communist Frank Marshall Davis and continuing with Jeremiah Wright and communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, should have disqualified him from getting a security clearance in the government that he wants to run. But no vetting of Obama was ever done. The media turned away from these shocking facts.

Former FBI supervisor Max Noel has pointed out that the FBI once utilized a CARL test when it conducted background checks on people for high-level positions. The acronym CARL stands for Character, Associates, Reputation, and Loyalty. No such vetting was done in Obama’s case. He could never have passed.

Candidates for federal office, in contrast to federal employment, do not undergo any background checks at all.

Yet, it apparently can be done. The Washington Post reported at the time that John McCain’s (R-AZ) vetting process for picking Sarah Palin as his running mate included an FBI background check.

Palin, a conservative, was considered controversial—as opposed to “progressives” like Obama.

On the matter of the “moderate” Syrian rebels that Obama wants the U.S. Congress to support, The New York Times in June reported that Obama requested $500 million for “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition.

So it has gone from just vetting to “appropriate” vetting. As defined by Obama, we suppose.

Van Jones was vetted for a White House position before Trevor Loudon discovered his communist background in a story picked up by Glenn Beck (then with Fox News) that ultimately forced his resignation from the Obama administration. Jones, now a CNN commentator, had also questioned whether Bush officials had deliberately allowed Islamists to conduct the 9/11 terrorist attacks in order to go to war in the Middle East.

So the term “vetting” really means nothing, as far as the White House is concerned. It is a dangerous joke. CNN’s hiring of Jones shows the media don’t take the concept seriously, either.

Yet, the term gets repeated in the media, by politicians and reporters. Consider these quotes:

  • “I support the President taking military action in Iraq and Syria to combat this organization. I also support his request for additional authority to support the moderate, vetted Syrian opposition. But more must be done.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • “Congress must stand behind the President in this effort by acting swiftly to provide funds so that the vetted Syrian rebels can take the fight to ISIS in Syria.” Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
  • “The White House is asking Congress for $500 million to train and equip vetted pro-Western Syrian opposition groups.” The Hill newspaper
  • “The President’s strategy includes training and equipping vetted Syrian rebel groups in camps hosted by Saudi Arabia, whose Sunni leaders have grown increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by Islamic State, U.S. officials said.” Bloomberg News

As if the background investigation problem isn’t bad enough, the personal information that is being collected on some federal employees is being stolen for blackmail purposes.

Reuters reported that the cyberattack on USIS in August acquired highly personal information about workers at the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters, as well as its U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection units.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer with the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, said that a foreign government could use the data “to identify individuals who might be vulnerable to extortion and recruitment.”

CrowdStrike had previously identified a Russian government-backed group of hackers, dubbed “Energetic Bear,” that specialized in attacks on U.S. defense contractors, technology companies and government agencies. Alperovitch had called it an “espionage” operation.

Now, an unvetted President with blood on his hands from previous funding of rebels in Libya wants Congress to provide arms and money to Syrian rebels approved and apparently vetted by him.

Sounds like a plan for another Benghazi massacre and another foreign policy disaster for America.