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National Security Fairy Tales: Iran and the Extremists

iran-nuclear-weaponsby Peter Huessy

On December 3, 2007 the US intelligence community released an NIE or National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

A month later, on January 1, 2008, “All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror” by Stephen Kinzer was published.

The first claimed the Iranians stopped their nuclear warhead work in 2003.

The second claimed the American CIA planned a “coup” in 1953 in Iran which brought Shah Pahlavi back to power.

The stories are critical to understand the inability of the US and its allies to successfully end the terrorist regime in Tehran and stop its nuclear ambitions. [Read more...]

Jihadist militancy is on the rise across the globe

Syria Muslim Brotherhood Al-QaedaIn a landmark speech that recalibrated a central tenet of US foreign policy, President Barack Obama in May (2103) declared the global war on terror over.

What seemed optimistic then appears misguided now, a New Year revealing the extent of al-Qa’ida’s resurgence in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Jihadist extremists have effectively hijacked what began as a democratic uprising in Syria and are carving a swath across much of the rest of the region, from Mali and Libya in the west to Yemen and Afghanistan in the east, and beyond. Al-Qa’ida now dominates the rebels in Syria. In neighbouring Iraq, Sunni militants are fighting under the same black al-Qa’ida banner as the most extreme jihadists fighting in Syria. [Read more...]

The real Rouhani

Iran President RouhaniThe search, now 30 years old, for Iranian “moderates” goes on. Amid the enthusiasm of the latest sighting, it’s worth remembering that the highlight of the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages debacle was the secret trip to Tehran taken by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s former national security adviser. He brought a key-shaped cake symbolizing the new relations he was opening with the “moderates.”

We know how that ended.

Three decades later, the mirage reappears in the form of Hassan Rouhani. Strange résumé for a moderate: 35 years of unswervingly loyal service to the Islamic Republic as a close aide to Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei. Moreover, Rouhani was one of only six presidential candidates, another 678 having been disqualified by the regime as ideologically unsound. That puts him in the 99th centile for fealty.

Rouhani is Khamenei’s agent but, with a smile and style, he’s now hailed as the face of Iranian moderation. [Read more...]

Fort Hood attack was terrorism. The Army should call it that.

Nidal-Hasan-Fort-Hoodby Shawn Manning

In November 2009, my Army Reserve Medical Detachment reported to Fort Hood, Tex., in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. As we waited in line at the base’s processing center, Maj. Nidal Hasan entered the building and fired rounds that would kill 13 people and an unborn child and wound 32 others, including me. After many setbacks, Hasan’s trial finally began this week, only to be delayed yet again on Wednesday.

My recovery has been long and agonizing. But the pain that has taken me by surprise has come in the nearly four years since the attack, as my fellow victims and I have been given the runaround by a government more eager to protect itself than the dead and wounded.

On the day of the attack, I was waiting for a medical exam before what would have been my third deployment overseas. I was texting my wife when I heard the shout of “Allahu Akbar!” [Read more...]

Religion, Ideology and Politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran

by Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiHassan Rohani

The well-established tendency in Washington DC since the so-called “Khomeini Revolution” of 1979 to look for positive signs of change in the political ideology of the theocratic regime is hindering, not strengthening, the United States’ ability to devise a coherent strategy vis-à-vis Iran’s regional and global ambitions.  Even worse, as Tehran is preparing to complete the presidential transition from the evil-clown, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to the smiling cleric, Hassan Rohani, who promised during his campaign to focus on the economy and improve Iran’s international standing, the United States and the rest of the world are getting a false sense of hope, relying on wishful thinking rather than preparing proper policies themselves. [Read more...]

Doubling Down on Absurdity

by George LandrithObama Biting Lip

While British Prime Minister David Cameron was in town this earlier this week, President Barack Obama held a press conference and was asked about several growing scandals including the Benghazi coverup. At issue were the CIA talking points that Administration officials radically changed – removing all references to warnings before the attack, terrorism, al-Qaeda, and the planned and coordinated nature of the attack. Obama claimed it was all a politically motivated “sideshow.”

Obama made at least three claims that were clearly false. First, he said that from the first day, he was clear that the attack was an “act of terrorism.” False. Second, he claimed that he sent a White House official to Capital Hill to testify that it was terrorism. Again, false. Third, he said that Congress reviewed administration emails and determined several months ago that “there was nothing afoul.” Again, completely and totally false. [Read more...]

Changing the Benghazi Talking Points

How they were changed to obscure the truth   

by Stephen F. Hayes    Obama Benghazi Gate

Even as the White House strove last week to move beyond questions about the Benghazi attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2012, fresh evidence emerged that senior Obama administration officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days following the assaults. The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom. [Read more...]

Ms. Clinton, it matters because the truth and accountability matters

by George Landrith

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally made it to Capitol Hill to testify about what happened five months ago in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th — the 11th anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks. What we knew before Hillary’s testimony is that a well-planned and coordinated terrorist attack in Benghazi killed four Americans, including our Ambassador. After Ms. Clinton testified, the mainstream media rushed to tell Americans how amazing Ms. Clinton’s performance was and how small-minded the Republicans had been. As usual, the mainstream media demonstrated itself to be shamelessly dishonest and embarrassingly servile. But there is nothing new in that. [Read more...]

The Difference It Makes

“‘What difference does it make?’ This question is the timeless unspoken question in all political discussion and debate. Or should be.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s now infamous response at a Senate hearing on Benghazi:

“With all respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans, was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans. What difference at this point does it make?”

It matters because she only posits two alternatives as to what happened in Benghazi: [Read more...]

Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address to the ’88 Republican National Convention

“Our party speaks for human freedom, for the sweep of liberties that are at the core of our existence. . . . Together we’ve fought for causes we love. But we can never let the fire go out or quit the fight, because the battle is never over. Our freedom must be defended over and over again — and then again.”

by Scott L. Vanatter

At the end of a Super Bowl the winning head coach can rightly point to the day’s game plan, key plays, and stats. All these and more contributed to what was accomplished by the team – led by the coach.

At the end of his time in office, a successful two-term president can rightly point to the administration’s fundamental principles and key policies. All these and more produced the real-world accomplishments – led by the president. After eight years of concrete success and indisputable accomplishment President Reagan reported to the 1988 Republican National Convention. Prior to being elected Reagan had carefully and overtly taught — yes, taught — the country the key principles on which the Founders based the U.S. Constitution and preserved American culture. [Read more...]

The Media’s Benghazi Scandal

by Peter Wehner

Over my career, I’ve tended to resist press bashing. Part of the reason for that may be that there are plenty of journalists whose work I respect and whom I’ve come to admire. But I must say that the way the press as an institution covered the 2012 presidential election was in many respects depressing—and in some respects its biases have rarely been more fully on display.

There are a dozen examples I could cite, but let me simply focus on one: The September 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi. We witnessed a massive failure at three different stages. [Read more...]

Benghazi: more information only leads to more questions

by Peter Brookes

We don’t have all the details of former CIA Director David Petraeus’ testimony to congressional Intelligence Committees on Friday, but it looks like the American people were grossly misled about the Benghazi attack.

Is anyone surprised? You shouldn’t be.

The last thing the Obama administration wanted to tell the American public during a tight presidential campaign was that al Qaeda had attacked a US consulate on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, killing four brave Americans. [Read more...]

Post-Mortem Analysis: Why Romney Lost, Why Obama Won

It turns out that Obama’s ground game, was in fact, as good as they said it was. Supported by as negative and polemic a campaign as an incumbent ever ran.

by Scott L. Vanatter

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” A thousand pictures will be painted in post-election analysis. A thousand time over. Here’s one.

It takes a pretty good team to make it to the Super Bowl. Good and great players and coaches; an astute general manager and smart owner, scouts and staff. How the team deals with injuries and setbacks. Strength training and conditioning. Attitude, execution, an effective game plan — and a bit of luck. (Note: “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.”) [Read more...]

The Fog of Benghazi

What we now know—and still don’t—about President Obama’s 9/11.

Editorial: Wall Street Journal Editorial

November 3, 2012

The Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were murdered September 11 in Benghazi. That we know. But too little else about what took place before, during and after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission is clear.

The White House says Republicans are “politicizing” a tragedy. Politicians politicize, yes, but part of their job is to hold other politicians accountable. The Administration has made that difficult by offering evasive, inconsistent and conflicting accounts about one of the most serious American overseas defeats in recent years. Unresolved questions about Benghazi loom over this election because the White House has failed to resolve them.

• Why did the U.S. not heed warnings about a growing Islamist presence in Benghazi and better protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex? [Read more...]

‘Troubling’ Surveillance Before Benghazi Attack

Sensitive documents found amid the wreckage of the U.S. consulate shine new light on the Sept. 11 assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

by Harald Doornbos, Jenan Moussa

November 1, 2012

BENGHAZI, Libya — More than six weeks after the shocking assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — and nearly a month after an FBI team arrived to collect evidence about the attack – the battle-scarred, fire-damaged compound where Ambassador Chris Stevens and another Foreign Service officer lost their lives on Sept. 11 still holds sensitive documents and other relics of that traumatic final day, including drafts of two letters worrying that the compound was under “troubling” surveillance and complaining that the Libyan government failed to fulfill requests for additional security. [Read more...]

Lingering questions about Benghazi

The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.

by David Ignatius

October 30, 2012

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has become a political football in the presidential campaign, with all the grandstanding and misinformation that entails. But Fox News has raised questions about the attack that deserve a clearer answer from the Obama administration.

Fox’s Jennifer Griffin reported Friday that CIA officers in Benghazi had been told to “stand down” when they wanted to deploy from their base at the annex to repel the attack on the consulate, about a mile away. Fox also reported that the officers requested military support when the annex came under fire that night but that their request had been denied. [Read more...]

How a Presidency Falls Apart

This is the way a presidency comes apart — not with a bang but a series of whimpers.

by Paul Greenberg

October 30, 2012

In 1968, it was called the credibility gap. Lyndon Johnson was no longer able to make it seem we were winning the war in Vietnam. Not that he hadn’t tried. But after years fighting there, the sad truth was beginning to out. The president and all the president’s men weren’t able to convince the country that they knew the way to victory there, or even a draw. All our commanders in the field seemed able to do was provide more body counts, even while Ho Chi Minh and his comrades in Hanoi were sending more and more bodies to fill their ranks in the South. [Read more...]

‘Cooling Out’ the Voters

Keeping the voters distracted or in uncertainty as long as possible

by Thomas Sowell

October 30, 2012

Confidence men know that their victim — “the mark” as he has been called — is eventually going to realize that he has been cheated. But it makes a big difference whether he realizes it immediately, and goes to the police, or realizes it after the confidence man is long gone.

So part of the confidence racket is creating a period of uncertainty, during which the victim is not yet sure of what is happening. This delaying process has been called “cooling out the mark.”

The same principle applies in politics. When the accusations that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton first surfaced, he flatly denied them all. Then, as the months passed, the truth came out — but slowly, bit by bit. One of Clinton’s own White House aides later called it “telling the truth slowly.” [Read more...]

Provocative Weakness Defined: Obama’s Apology Tour

George Washington warned against “the reputation of weakness.” 

by Scott L. Vanatter

Who can doubt that weakness is provocative? Offensive coordinators and their quarterbacks don’t doubt it – neither do the defenses they exploit. Championship boxers don’t doubt it – neither do those they knock out. Playground bullies don’t doubt it – neither do their victims. Gang leaders don’t doubt it – neither do those they control.

Third-world dictators have no doubt. They live — and die — by it. Sadly, their victims also have no doubt of it.

Donald Rumsfeld, in his farewell speech as Secretary of Defense, explained how this principle plays out on a world stage,

“Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative, but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative as well. A conclusion by our enemies that the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power.” [Read more...]

“Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Plausible Deniability: Deconstructing how Obama described the Benghazi terrorist attack

by Scott L. Vanatter

Groucho Marx once tried to get out of trouble by comically declaring, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

In the Rose Garden the day after, Obama had to go out of his way not to accidentally mention the word “terror” in his first seven mentions of what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

In his statement, he employed the following carefully chosen words and phrases. Not what he does not say.

He said it was “an attack.” Mr. President, what kind of an attack?

[Read more...]