Obama Gave a Pretty Speech

As he often does. But what did President Barack Obama really say? I’ll elide his bald claims regarding his having “consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country.” Threats like ISIS; like the terrorists who destroyed our Benghazi consulate and butchered our Ambassador there, along with three of his security detail; like al Qaeda in the Maghreb and al Qaeda in Yemen; like the Taliban in Afghanistan, from which—and whom—we’re retreating; …. Yes, yes, we’ve killed a few key players in some of those gangs, but we’ve not damaged the gangs themselves in any material way. But enough of that.

With Whom Among the Kurds Should We Work?

How about with all of them?

President Barack Obama appears, finally, to be agreeable to arming the Pershmerga of the Kurds’ Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq and to be working a little more closely with them in where the US takes its potshots against ISIS forces—the Mosul Dam effort comes to mind in this context.

But that can’t be all of it, if ISIS is to be destroyed. That will require attacking ISIS in Syria as well as more serious efforts against ISIS in Iraq. That more serious effort in Iraq also will require working along the Kurds’ Iraq border with Turkey in addition to working with the Peshmerga to the west of Iraqi Kurdistan.

A Thought on Support for Iraq

To a significant degree, the failure of the Russian-trained and equipped Iraqi army when the US invaded that country is on Russia. To a significant degree, the failure of the US-trained and equipped Iraqi army when ISIS invaded Iraq is on us.

But given the fact that both of those failures occurred under two independent and dissimilar training, doctrine, and equipage régimes, the abject performance of the Iraqi “army” is on Iraq and that army. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for defending itself and its members’ families, much less defending its country. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for fighting.

Meandering Expansion

And it would have done LBJ proud. Now the US is taking potshots at ISIS terrorists threatening the Haditha Dam in Iraq’s al Anbar province. This dam on the Euphrates River backs up a large reservoir and holds a major hydropower plant.

The US’ first move was to take potshots at the terrorists who had trapped Yazidis, for humanitarian reasons.

That was followed, ad hoc, by US potshots at the terrorists who were holding the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River, with that dam’s even larger reservoir and hydropower plant. Those potshots were in support of the Kurds’ Peshmerga who were pushing the terrorists off the dam, and these potshots also were for “humanitarian reasons.”

Words Have Consequences

KT McFarland pointed out some of their consequence in a Friday interview on Fox NewsHappening Now program against the backdrop of the Russian-supported “rebellion” in Ukraine and the just being agreed “cease fire” between those “rebels” and Ukrainian forces.

It seems that President Barack Obama, while spending a day in Estonia, had assured the Estonians that NATO would, of course, rush to their defense in the event of “an attack” on Estonia. The next day, Obama repeated that assurance, sort of. This time, he said NATO would rush to Estonia’s defense in the event of “an armed attack” on Estonia.

Resign, or Resigned?

The parents of a SEAL lost in Afghanistan, on seeing the butchery of ISIS and President Barack Obama’s decision not to respond, have written an open letter to him, via World Tribune. Here is their letter.

Billy and Karen Vaughn

After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

About the Ukraine Crisis

Zbigniew Brzezinski had some thoughts in Foreign Affairs. In 1994.

Insurance is needed against the possibility, one might even argue the probability, that the weight of history will not soon permit Russia to stabilize as a democracy, and that the single-minded cultivation of a partnership with Russia, while downgrading other interests, will simply accelerate the reemergence of an ominously familiar imperial challenge to Europe’s security….

In Which I Side with the “Liberal” Judges

Regarding the NSA’s broad (much too broad, IMNSHO) surveillance of American citizens, the three judges hearing an appeal to the 2nd Circuit Appellate Court (Democrat appointees, all) expressed concern about that breadth. A Federal District Court had ruled the surveillance constitutional, and the ACLU is leading the appeal (and so I’m siding with that crowd, too, on this matter).

In an oral argument that was set for less than 30 minutes and lasted nearly two hours, three judges on a panel hearing the case at the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan probed claims by the ACLU that the federal government’s collection of data relating to “every phone call made or received by residents of the United States” is illegal and unconstitutional.

What Does Europe Owe Ukraine?

The crisis in Eastern Europe…is now entering its 10th month. What began with the collapse of an association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine can now be called a war.

Emphasis added.

All Ukraine wanted was to be free. Free from Russia; free to chart its own course; free to begin to escape its own history of governmental corruption; free to align itself with, learn from the association, and perhaps to prosper in its freedom. The EU implied, with that agreed association, that it would help Ukraine work toward those goals, using that association and EU’s vasty trade market.

Democracy People’s Republic of China Style

And democracy Hong Kong style.

The PRC’s view of elections in its satrapy is that only candidates acceptable to the Communist Party of China can stand for office in Hong Kong. Indeed, the Deputy Secretary General of the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, Li Fei, has said out loud that openly nominating candidates would create a “chaotic society.” He went further:

[R]ights come from laws, they don’t come from the sky. Many Hong Kong people have wasted a lot of time discussing things that are not appropriate and aren’t discussing things that are appropriate.