Loose Canons

Loose Canons

Those Chemical Weapons: An Iraq War Embed’s Experience

By 10.20.14

The New York Times report of October 14 should have been bigger news. Big enough to reshape the entire history of the Iraq war that toppled Saddam Hussein at the cost of more than 3,500 American lives and $1 trillion. So far, in the midst of the Ebola crisis, another Iraq war, and so much more, it wasn’t more than a one-day story.

The article reported that contrary to the Democratic narrative, there were chemical weapons found in Iraq. Around 5,000 aviation bombs, artillery warheads, and shells were found over about an eight-year period beginning in 2004. A number of soldiers were injured in handling them.

Maybe, someday, enough information will be declassified so that the full story will be known. I have a small part of the information to relate.

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Open Season on Leader Barack

By 10.13.14

ISIS is about to conquer Baghdad while the Kurds are begging for arms and American airpower to prevent the massacre of the people in Kobane. Joey Biden accidentally told the truth about Turkey’s placid approach to ISIS but apologized quickly. Ukraine has gone quiet for the moment but Kim Jong-un remains missing and — given his five weeks’ absence — intelligence analysts are trying to figure out if the North Koreans are about to go off the rails again. And TSA’s experts are screening passengers at some airports, including JFK, to ensure our borders remain open to anyone who will not die of Ebola before they go through customs inspection. The rest of the world is in about the same shape.

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President Alfred E. Neuman

By 10.6.14

On Saturday evening, a flight from Brussels landed at Newark carrying a man thought to be a Liberian who was vomiting and apparently showing other symptoms of Ebola, the disease that has broken out in epidemic proportions in West Africa. He was evacuated and later found not to be infected with the disease, which — if left untreated — can kill up to 90 percent of the people who are infected.

That’s a higher percentage than those killed by bubonic plague, which kills about 66 percent of those untreated.

Last week, a Wall Street Journal report gave us insight into President Obama’s desperate efforts to concede enough to Iran in his nuclear weapons negotiations that even the contumacious ayatollahs would have to give him a guarantee of peace in our time.

Still, America remains preternaturally cool. Nothing bothers us. We shouldn’t panic, but we can’t have faith that the government can handle this and has everything under control. Don’t just take the word of the head of the Centers for Disease Control because what he says is nonsensical.

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America’s Fool’s Errand Over Syria

By 9.29.14

Kobane — a town in northern Syria, not the dead rocker — is one of the focuses of President Obama’s war against ISIS. The fighting is confused by the fact that there aren’t just two sides, but at least six or seven. Obama told the UN last week that “the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed.” Our effort to do so, aided by a coalition of sorts, is going at a glacial pace that will not foreseeably grow faster.

First things first. I’d guesstimate that we’re applying about 2-5 percent of the combined airpower of the U.S. Air Force and Navy to the president’s effort to destroy the Axis of Evil 3.0. That may be because we lack the actionable intelligence to do it faster. And it may be that neither we, nor our coalition members, are willing to do more.

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There’s No Confronting the Clinton Mafia

By 9.22.14

Bill has reportedly become a vegan, but Hillary is still very much the carnivore. We know her 2016 presidential campaign began the day after she lost the 2008 nomination to Obama. And we know that it’s being conducted by the same crew, using the same methods, that Bill’s campaigns and presidency were two decades ago. It’s not that the Clintons are back: they never really left.

Those methods would qualify the Clinton Family Enterprise as a mafia family if its heritage were Sicilian.

The Clinton Mafiosi playbook has many chapters, and the cover-up is a longstanding favorite. A few historical reminders are necessary for those who didn’t live through them.

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When Is a War Not a War?

By 9.15.14

It’s only been five days since President Obama announced his strategy which depends on a coalition of NATO members and Arab states to join with us to degrade and maybe someday destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But, as I predicted on Thursday, that plan won’t succeed. It has already fallen apart.

The Arab nations are, as usual, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” in the war against ISIS. Their resentment and distrust of Obama ensured that the most they’d do is permit us to use bases in their nations. Predictably, they won’t send one soldier to fight with us. Britain, Germany, and Canada have already told us that they’ll sit this one out. Turkey, once a cornerstone of NATO and now ruled by a radical Islamist, has not only refused to join us but has also indicated it will refuse us the use of what used to be our massive airbase at Incirlik.

Although one reported cease-fire between a "moderate" Syrian rebel group and ISIS seems to have been short-lived, Obama's plan to arm the Syrian "moderates" is probably moot.

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While Benghazi Still Smolders, ISIS Burns Bright

By 9.11.14

Though the fires that consumed our diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, two years ago tonight have long since been put out, the incident still smolders in our minds.

Is it because we have never been able to get at the truth behind the attacks? Because we still don’t know what the president said, did, or didn’t do in the thirteen hours Americans were under fire? Is it because the memoirs of people such as Hillary Clinton are still publishing the risible fiction that the attacks were caused by an obscure anti-Muslim video? Or is it because the Obama administration has for two years masterfully ducked, dodged, and bluffed congressional investigators in the most successful cover-up in living memory?

Benghazi is still burning in our minds for all of those reasons, and more. President Obama’s speech last night — in which he proclaimed his “strategy” for defeating ISIS — only fanned those flames. 

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ISIS, ISIL, NATO, and Obama

By 9.8.14

When President Obama sits down with congressional leaders this week to talk about fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — “ISIS” — they’ll probably not agree on anything, not even the proper name of the terrorist organization that now controls about one-third of Iraq and a larger part of Syria.

The president insists on calling it “ISIL”, for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The “Levant” — an archaic term — refers to the area off the Eastern Mediterranean Sea stretching from what is now Anatolia in Turkey, through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. By insisting on calling the terrorist micro-caliphate “ISIL,” the president is giving them credit for being a lot bigger than they really are.

One thing that they certainly won’t discuss is the best idea to come out of the House of Representatives in quite a while. Actually, it hasn’t come out yet and it’s a good idea with one major defect.

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With ISIS and Russia, None of the Above Is Not the Answer

By 9.2.14

Why the shock at President Obama’s confession that he doesn’t have a strategy to deal with Syria and ISIS?

Here’s the deal: a strategy—be it diplomatic or military or a combination of the two—can only be developed after a president decides what the policy objective is to be. His job is to decide what the desired result of a strategy is supposed to be, and our military leaders and diplomats are supposed to craft strategies to achieve that result. Unless and until Obama decides what result he wants to reach in Syria and Iraq—or in Ukraine, the South China Sea, or anywhere else for that matter—no one can create a strategy to produce that result.

It may be that Obama is afraid of making such policy decisions. Or it may be what it appears: that Obama’s most fundamental policy decision is not to make the decisions essential to defending our interests or the freedom of our allies. Regardless, you can’t have a strategy without the predicate policy decision.

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Louvain, ISIS, and Evil

By 8.25.14

The videotaped beheading of photojournalist James Foley shocked us, but it should not have. The Islamic fascisti such as ISIS have always preyed on the innocent and defenseless. Twelve years ago, a like group of barbarians kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. They did the same to him as ISIS did to Foley: an innocent American reporter was kidnapped, held incommunicado, and then beheaded on videotape for the propaganda and shock value.

History abounds with such events, barbaric murders on scales both large and small. A particularly notable one began one hundred years ago tonight.

In its murderous rampage through Belgium at the outset of World War One, the German army commonly committed mass murders of civilians. As historian John Keegan recounts, 211 were murdered in the town of Andenne, 384 in Tamines, and 612 in Dinant. And then, on the night of August 25, the Germans began the burning of Louvain.

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