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A Further Perspective

Four Facts About a Strategy to Defeat ISIS

By and 9.10.14

Americans are outraged over the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. We all want President Obama to defeat these savages. For any plan to be credible, it must acknowledge four important facts.

(1) Without oil, ISIS has no economy:

In 2012, crude oil was 84 percent of Iraq’s exports. Only 33 percent of Iraq’s GDP is generated from the private sector and many of those workers get much of their business from government contracts. 

Currently, ISIS controls seven oil fields in Northern Iraq that produce 30,000 barrels per day (bpd). This is small compared to overall Iraq production in August, which was reported to be 3.1 million bpd, of which 2.44 million bpd was exported. 

Most of country’s oil is in the south. The only place in northern Iraq with appreciable oil reserves is near Kirkuk, producing one million bpd. Any strategy against ISIS must involve keeping these terrorists away from Kirkuk and also destroying the few fields now under ISIS control. ISIS also controls refineries in Syria that produce 50,000 barrels per day. These should be targeted for destruction also. 

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Special Report and Interview

Reliving Benghazi’s 13 Hours

By 9.9.14

On September 11 and 12, 2012, in an attack by Islamist militants on the U.S. Diplomatic Compound (unofficially sometimes called a consulate) in Benghazi, Libya, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed — the first death of an American ambassador by a violent act since 1979. Chris Stevens had earned the admiration and respect of many local Benghazans by making improved relations between Libyans and Americans his calling — one that he was willing to take great risks to accomplish. Also killed that fateful night was the affable State Department computer specialist Sean Smith, known ironically to his friends in the online gaming world as “Vile Rat.”

Far more people would have died had it not been for the efforts of the Annex Security Team, a group of private security contractors, each of whom had served in the United States Marines, Army, or Navy, working for an organization called the Global Response Staff (“GRS”), who risked their lives and defied orders by leaving the nearby CIA Annex in order to save the State Department staff at the Diplomatic Compound.

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Serve and Volley

Croatia’s Star Stops Japan’s Rising Son Cold in Three-Set Rout

By 9.9.14

Fittingly, a Grand Slam season that began with the victory of a long-suffering underdog ended with the triumph of still another. But whereas perennial Swiss No. 2 Stan Wawrinka faced one of tennis’s dominant Big Four at Melbourne, the big-serving Marin Cilic of Croatia was up against one of his own second-tier rivals, Kei Nishikori, who beat one of the Bigs in his U.S. Open semi while Cilic took out another.

Thus the final in the every-seat-taken (17,000 of them) Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York that a few days ago everyone expected to be a rematch of the Roger Federer-Novak Djokovic thriller at Wimbledon a couple months ago instead was a battle between upstart, relatively unknown players, neither one of whom ever had been in a Grand Slam final.

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Main Street U.S.A.

Obama Goes to War

By 9.9.14

Wasn’t that a good one about the president promising an executive order on immigration — only he discovered the time wasn’t quite right, what with an election coming on, so he pivoted to the Islamic State, which he is promising to degrade and destroy in two or three years, only…?

The “onlys” tend to get you when they accumulate too fast: attempted cover for broken promises and stalled undertakings. This might be another way of saying, does Barack Obama, hours after kicking the immigration can down the road, really expect the world to take with profound seriousness his renewal of the terror war he denounced when others were waging it?

Obama’s shifts of viewpoint and rhetoric have become as commonplace as fall-weather chitchat. Say, Ned, reckon it’s about to cool down some? Reckon there’ll be boots on the ground by Thanksgiving?

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The Obama Watch

Obama Does Have a Strategy: Bury the Bad News

By 9.9.14

Those people who say that President Obama has no clear vision and no clear strategy for dealing with the ISIS terrorists in the Middle East may be mistaken. It seems to me that he has a very clear and very consistent strategy. And a vision behind that strategy.

First the strategy — which is to get each crisis off the front pages and off television news programs as quickly as he can, in whatever way he can, at the lowest political cost. Calling ISIS a junior varsity months ago accomplished that goal.

Saying before the 2012 elections that “bin Laden is dead” and that terrorism was defeated accomplished the goal of getting reelected.

Ineffective sanctions against Iran and Russia likewise serve a clear purpose. They serve to give the illusion that Obama is doing something that will stop Iran from getting nuclear bombs and stop Russia from invading Ukraine.

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Special Report

Who Are We At War With, And Who Is A Threat?

By 9.9.14

We in the West have been coming to wrong conclusions in answering the above questions.

Our “war” confusion is that we aren’t necessarily at war with countries and/or terror groups whose leaders have declared war on us. Thus the Islamic Republic of Iran established in February 1979 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has avowedly been at war with the West ever since. As a result our policies are constrained by the perception that we are not at war with such adversaries. And so now with Islamic State — IS, ISIS or IL — of whom the Obama administration now says that they are not yet a threat to the homeland.

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The War on Terror Spectator

If Obama Had Been FDR

By 9.9.14

The words still resonate today, seventy-three years later. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his polio-stricken legs encased in iron braces enabling him to stand at the podium, asked Congress for a declaration of war against “the Empire of Japan.” FDR’s famous speech came immediately after the perfunctory acknowledgement of the vice president and speaker of the House. The speech described the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and opened like this:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The speech, delivered at 12:30 p.m., was short and to the point.

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Serve and Volley

The End of Civilization As We Have Known It

By 9.8.14

When a man is down two sets to one and he is on serve and behind 15-40, you find out what he is made of — in tennis, at any rate. In Roger Federer’s case, his hapless rival in that particular situation said it best: “[S]uddenly he start to mix everything,” said the French ace Gael Monfils after the match. He meant, he did what he needed to do to save the game, save the set, save the match.

Federer himself put it a little differently, mentioning afterward that he told himself to just go ahead and play the last point, since last point is what by all evidence it was. But his unstated meaning was: just let it be and play.

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The Nation's Pulse

Andrew Tahmooressi’s Imprisonment Is Something We Should Be Ashamed Of

By 9.8.14

What to make of the peculiar situation unfolding just across the border in Tijuana, where U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishes in solitary confinement for the crime of mistakenly crossing the border with his personal weapons in his truck on March 31?

Nothing to inspire confidence, for certain. In fact, Tahmooressi’s ordeal might just confirm many of our worst fears about the Obama administration.

The Tahmooressi story sounds more like a schlocky Hollywood script than a real-life tale. Its protagonist is a decorated Marine veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan, honorably discharged in 2012 and diagnosed with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); he was moving to the San Diego area specifically for treatment of his PTSD. And Tahmooressi’s ordeal is mind-bogglingly unjust; he mistakenly crossed the border from San Ysidro, California, into Mexico because he missed an interstate exit that would have taken him to dinner with friends. Instead, the twenty-five-year old war hero wound up at a Mexican border station driving a pickup truck full of his possessions, which included two rifles and a pistol, plus ammunition.

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The Charlie Watch

Boy Clinton Fails to Fill House

By 9.8.14

Billy-Bob Clinton showed up in Miami Friday night to tell Florida Democrats that Charlie Crist’s conversion to the Democrat party and all its leftist delusions is genuine. For anyone who has known Charlie for more than a few weeks, this is itself a delusion. But this is the Democrat establishment’s story, and they’re sticking to it. At least until November 4, or until Crist registers in yet another political party, whichever comes first.

Clinton’s other message was to impress on Democrats how important it is for them to vote in November. Democrats, the party of government, do well at turning out the faithful when there’s a presidential candidate to vote for at the top of the ticket. But they have a history of not reporting for civic duty in off-years. They didn’t turn out in any numbers for the August 26 primary. And, embarrassingly, they didn’t show up Friday night to hear one of the left’s rock-stars perform. Clinton had to deliver his sermon on the importance of showing up to a half-empty hotel ballroom. 

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