Obama Scolds, Kerry Says Hebdo Attackers Had 'Legitimacy'

Legitimate Fears in US Over Da’esh Attacks Possibly Here Next

By Scott W. Winchell

John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and Bernie Sanders live in an alternate universe – it is no longer in doubt. If it were not so sad and dangerous, one would have to laugh.

Talk about delusional people, it’s time we re-examine that old r/K selection theory again to understand people who cannot face adversity with the words necessary, yet they spout inanities and scold us when we do not agree.

Why didn’t Kerry and/or Obama show up for the unity parade in Paris last winter after the Charlie Hebdo attack while Mr. Kerry did say that the attackers had “legitimacy” and then immediately realize he had to correct himself now? Why, because that was what you really meant, delusional:

...open mouth, remove all doubt!
…open mouth, remove all doubt!

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that,” Kerry said. “There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘Okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.’ This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate.” (Read the rest here at the Daily Caller.)

Benjamin Netanyahu showed up, and dared to march arm-in-arm despite very serious threats to his well-being, while we get our own President once again complaining about our Republican candidates and anyone who just wants to keep their families safe here while he is on foreign soil.

It is just amazing how Obama bad-mouths Americans for wanting to be safe when 53% indicated they do not want any refugees here after what happened. Embarrassing displays both – again. Are you watching the same planet we are Mr. Obama?

“Widows and children,” really Mr. Obama? Where was Kerry and Obama when Al Assad was barrel-bombing women and children, or gassing them with chlorine in Syria?

What about the female terrorist who blew herself up killing a police dog today in a wild firefight with French authorities. Can’t women strap on suicide vests and aren’t children being trained by Da’esh now? Didn’t we hear that over 5,000 rounds were fired in that Saint Denis raid in France today where she blew herself up after learning that another attack was imminent?

The worst thing is the manner in which Obama spoke in yesterday, his delivery, the facial expressions, body language – he is a very petty man, just embarrassing, and so reprehensible. He scolds a very large swath of his own countrymen, no wonder Josh Earnest and the White House were walking their statements back today.

ied-isis-dabiqRemember, this was followed up by the Russian admission that their plane was blown up in the air and Da’esh even showed us a similar version of the bomb they used in their Da’biq magazine.

All this just in the last several days while our own homeland officials talk of Da’esh threats to Washington, D.C. and fears of major misdeeds over our holiday season.

What happens when a real bomb goes off on a plane in someone’s luggage over Kansas, or Ohio like it did over the Sinai? With TSA failing test after test, what’s to say another Sharm-el-Sheikh moment does not visit us here?

Didn’t two French planes that where threatened today have to abort their planned trips to Paris to return to the ground for inspection?

Da’esh has proven they can strike anywhere, are we next? Just now we learn that another video came out with threats to New York City and Las Vegas.

But Obama scolds us over the refusal of so many governors and American citizens for taking Syrian refugees in and Kerry says the attacks last January were legitimate. All while Sanders and Hillary can’t utter the words “Islamic Terror” in the Debate last Saturday night like Obama and Kerry.

What would the state of fears be if Da’esh or any terror group pulled off something as the busiest flying days approach next week or a football stadium has to be cleared on Thanksgiving Day or any other day on national television like what Germany had to do last night in Hannover? Will we be allowed to express our fears then?

America may have “bought crazy” in 2008 and 2012, but we ain’t buying anymore on this street corner – go sell crazy somewhere else Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Sanders.

It would be insane to accept refugees now so take your strawman arguments somewhere else as well – in our universe, our citizens’ safety comes first. We are just insulted and embarrassed.

White House on defense over Kerry, Obama comments on terror threat

By Fox News

The White House was on the defense Wednesday morning for statements made by President Obama — who labeled Friday’s Paris massacre that left 129 dead a “setback” — and Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that the terrorists who in January attacked Charlie Hebdo had a “rationale.”

Asked about the comments during a contentious interview on Fox News, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested too much attention was being paid to officials’ words.

“I would encourage you to spend just as much time focusing on the president’s actions as you do his words,” Earnest said on “Fox & Friends.”

Earnest noted that Obama, speaking in Turkey on Monday, also called the attacks “sickening.” Plus he said Obama called the French president to offer support — while strategizing with his own security advisers on the U.S. response.

President Barack Obama speaks at the G-20 meeting in Turkey.
President Barack Obama speaks at the G-20 meeting in Turkey.

Earnest said the president is consulting on “what sort of military steps we could take to ramp up our efforts inside of Syria and make sure we can support our French allies.”

But the words of both Obama and Kerry have stirred concerns about the gravity with which the administration is treating the threat.

Kerry discussed the Charlie Hebdo attack — an Al Qaeda affiliate attack against employees at a satirical publication that had published Prophet Muhammad cartoons — during remarks on Tuesday to U.S. Embassy employees in Paris.

He at first suggested there was “legitimacy” to those attacks but then corrected himself and said they had a “rationale.”

He said: “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that.

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There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.

This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people.”

Afterward, State Department spokesman John Kirby defended the secretary’s remarks.

The administration’s comments on the terror threat, though, have even started to draw some Democratic criticism.

After Obama said, in an interview shortly before Friday’s attacks, that ISIS is “contained,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told MSNBC that “ISIL is not contained.”

“ISIL is expanding,” she said.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who typically aligns with the president, scolded Obama in an op-ed.

“Obama’s tone in addressing the Paris atrocity was all wrong,” he wrote. “At times he was patronizing, at other times he seemed annoyed and almost dismissive.

The president said, essentially, that he had considered all the options and decided that even a large-scale terrorist attack in the heart of a major European capital was not enough to make him reconsider his policy.”

Meanwhile, Earnest continued to defend the military strategy and stand by plans to bring Syrian refugees into the U.S.

“That is still the plan,” Earnest said of the refugee plan. “The reason for that is quite simple. The first thing that people should understand, refugees who are admitted to the United States undergo more rigorous screening than anybody else who tries to enter the country.

Typically, it takes between 18 and 24 months for people to be cleared. … These are the victims of ISIL. These are the victims of that terrible war inside of Syria.”

Deal With Devil Done – Obama, Iran Celebrate, World Cringes

By Scott W. Winchell, SUA Editor-in-Chief

By now you must have heard, the Iran deal is done…at least until it goes to Congress. (More on that below)

To start, we at SUA are witnessing what we feared the most – a naive deal has been reached that sets in motion dire times ahead, all on a bet for the Obama/Kerry,Clinton legacy. Russia and Iran have won, and Obama and his P5+1 partners have been ‘owned,’ so have you!

iran20aThis is an unmitigated display of folly, utter naivete, and could be a cataclysmic failure for world. Obama wanted a legacy?

Well as the saying goes, ‘be careful what you ask for, you might get it’… but in this case, we pay for it, because Obama kicked that can again, and a future President and our country, along with our allies will have to pay dearly for it.

The Iranians and the Russians have once again displayed to the world what many of us already knew, and that Iran, Russia, and others did as well; Obama and team were playing ‘Tiddly Winks’ while the pros were playing ‘Three-dimensional Chess.’

Failure once again for the naive, arrogantly ignorant Obama Administration and we pay for the folly of a narcissist and John Kerry, not to mention Hillary Clinton who defended it vehemently today blaming Bush along the way.

The losers are not just we here in the USA, but more importantly, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf States to just mention the most endangered.

What Obama and team have done is greasing the skids of what John Bolton warned us about; the nuclear arms race is already on in the Middle East.

So much to digest, so much misinformation, applying 'lipstick to the pig' from Obama, horror and fear for the world. Just look at the volume of analysis at Drudge...
So much to digest, so much misinformation, applying ‘lipstick to the pig’ from Obama, horror and fear for the world. Just look at the volume of analysis at Drudge…

That nuclear arms race will now go into overdrive because the other rich nations in the ME are none to happy, with Obama, and Iran.

A nuclear deal with Tehran, from the Saudi perspective, means two things: Iran will have the ability to improve its economic standing, and the capability to create a nuclear weapon – since the deal will only take effect for a relatively short period of time, 15 years, and will not destroy Iran’s technical capabilities to maintain a nuclear programme.

Both results would strengthen Iran and its allies in the region.

This context of an increasing Iranian influence that thrives on weak central governments and sectarian instability – as seen in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen – is what ISIL capitalises on in its recruitment drive, according to the Saudi view.

The immediate Saudi reaction to the deal will likely include attempts to revive the dual structure of the regional order: Saudi versus Iran, which existed until the Arab uprisings in 2011 led to the formation of a third camp comprised of  Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.

This camp and Saudi Arabia both exhausted their resources while competing for regional influence, ultimately benefiting Iran. (Read more at Al Jazeera and here at Yahoo.)

Obama and team, including the P5+1, are ‘trusting the untrustworthy,’ and that is putting it mildly at best – how utterly naive, or worse. Maybe Obama really does want that Caliphate to succeed – not with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, but with Iran in charge, hmmm? (Read into that what you will.)

Deal-with-the-Devil.NuclearIran

They gave away the farm for only a reduction in Iranian advances – ‘can kicked’ – some legacy.

This reckless bet, as Senator Lindsay Graham called it; the sheer insanity of it all, was defended by Obama today. In the release and speech he gave; they declared a victory, and you can view all their graphics and explanations they posted, but critics are tearing them to shreds – rightfully so.

See the White House page on their explanation here, and wait to see how most of it gets debunked for the tripe it truly is – more on that detail to come.

Again, the vast majority of this depends on trusting the Mullahs in Iran. Then there is President Rouhani, the man who just four days ago was at a rally fomenting the crowd on ‘Quds Day’  – “Death to America, death to Israel” in support of the Palestinians.

Obama calls this moment a ‘more hopeful world’ for all. Really? We beg to differ, as do so many who actually understand the whole picture as Obama is trying to apply ‘lipstick on this pig.’

It was only a few weeks ago that Iran surreptitiously acquired more nuclear technology as talks continued – trustworthy? Not on our lives and those of our children and grandchildren. The most vulnerable, and outspoken, are the Israelis…again, rightfully so – ‘one of the darkest days in world history’, we agree.

ObamaWhSpeechIranDeal

The deal itself is packed full of capitulations on our side, has no teeth, is unverifiable, and actually walks us and especially Israel closer to full scale war – apocalyptic war is certainly very possible as Iran now has the money to finance its desires. Is this a “Fine ‘new chapter’ or ‘historic mistake’?”

Overcoming decades of hostility, Iran, the United States, and five other world powers struck a historic accord Tuesday to check Tehran’s nuclear efforts short of building a bomb.

The agreement could give Iran access to billions in frozen assets and oil revenue, stave off more U.S. military action in the Middle East and reshape the tumultuous region.

The deal sets in motion a years-long test of Iran’s willingness to keep its promises to the world — and the ability of international inspectors to monitor compliance.

It also sets the White House up for a contentious fight with a wary Congress and more rocky relations with Israel, whose leaders furiously opposed the agreement.

Appealing to skeptics, President Barack Obama declared that the accord “offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.” The AP/Yahoo is calling that question into the fore:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his Jerusalem office on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The nuclear deal with Iran could strike a heavy personal blow to Netanyahu, leaving him at odds with the international community and with few options for scuttling an agreement he has spent years trying to prevent. (AP Photo/Oren Ben Hakoon)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his Jerusalem office on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The nuclear deal with Iran could strike a heavy personal blow to Netanyahu, leaving him at odds with the international community and with few options for scuttling an agreement he has spent years trying to prevent. (AP Photo/Oren Ben Hakoon)

Under terms of the deal, the culmination of 20 months of arduous diplomacy, Iran must dismantle much of its nuclear program in order to secure relief from biting sanctions that have battered its economy.

International inspectors can now press for visits to Iran’s military facilities, though access is not guaranteed. Centrifuges will keep spinning, though in lesser quantities, and uranium can still be enriched, though at lower levels.

In a key compromise, Iran agreed to continuation of the U.N.’s arms embargo on the country for up to five more years and ballistic missile restrictions for up to eight years.

Washington had sought to keep the arms ban in place, while Russia and China joined Iran in pushing for an immediate suspension. (read more here at AP/Yahoo.)

That excerpt does not paint a full picture of the disaster it truly is, and we gave up everything including the ‘kitchen sink’ and got little in return.

IranDealObamaAs the sound bite so famous for Netanyahu’s words; this all but ensures Iran gets nukes, and lots of them.

But it is not just the nukes. Its also many billions in which to support Assad in Syria, Hezbollah across the globes, and small conventional arms of the highest quality.

Iran will soon be able to legally acquire the most sophisticated weapons to render the Gulf its very own pond. Shipping and military forces will face a lethal threat for just navigating the Gulf, let alone passing through the straits of Hormuz with the ‘big dog’ detterent in its pocket; nukes.

The Russians are the winner here as well, because it will be them supplying the arms – game, set, and match again for Putin and that old ‘reset’ button of Hillary Clinton’s – epic failure.

Vladimir Putin enjoys nothing so much as poking the West—and especially, the US—in the eye. But the Iran deal gives Russia tangible winnings, too. The quickest wins are in the prospect of major arms deals: that’s why, of all the so-called P5+1 countries negotiating with Iran, Russia was the most ardent in arguing for the immediate lifting of the UN arms embargo.

Indeed, even before the nuke deal was struck, Moscow was promising delivery of its S-300 missile system to Tehran. Russian oil companies are also limbering up to enter Iran—although they will have stiff competition from the next entry on our list. (Read more here at Quartz.)

It’s not just Russia forcing last minute gains, but also China, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others who are winning along side Iran… Its also the Quds force and its commander, Suleimani who feel the relief of sanctions as well it appears are going by the wayside; never to reemerge.

The Quds force is the arm of the Iranian government that oversees world-wide terror and is in Iraq now, already a breach of the sanctions.

Now we go to the Congress – where the Constitution’s strictures have been turned on their head. Now, instead of a treaty needing a 2/3 vote to pass the Senate, it now takes a full 2/3 of both Houses to nix it – and sustain a sure veto – one that would ensure the deal goes through. Ask Andy McCarthy about how that all working and read his excellent article this morning that came out before the announcement of the deal – how instructive.

Iran is now a responsible member of the Community of Nations – Hell no! Now he has paved a way to fast track this deal to the UN, that is if Conress continues to capitulate as it decries the whole process, but it ties the hands of all future Presidents to put this ‘toothpaste back into the tube’ – World War III?

One could not have created a better ‘Sarajevo moment’ if one tried – beware, here it comes.

 

 

Iran Gets Gold – Threatens to Ratchet Up Nuclear Program

Editor’s Note – Obama and John Kerry appear to be living in an alternate universe where definitions of words are different and the facts are fungible. At every juncture, Iran comes out on top and the P5+1 looks weaker and weaker.

The so-called deadline, like other ‘red lines’ from the past, have no meaning. These are talking points that Obama has no problem ignoring, yet the Iranians keep holding the west to its agreements regarding sanctions on time. Now they have billions more and no agreement seems likely.KerryObamaWalkaway

Additionally, as the days move along, Iran continues to make threats regarding not reaching an agreement, and insists on things that Obama and the P5+1 should have walked away from long ago. Now they threaten to ratchet up their nuclear plans if an agreement is not reached:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hinted this week that Iran would decide to fully pursue its nuclear program in a way “harsher than what they [the United States can] imagine” if Western powers fail to uphold any nuclear agreement expected to be finalized in the coming days.

Rouhani’s comments come as negotiators in Vienna struggle to solve disagreements over a range of issues concerning the future of Tehran’s nuclear program. The ongoing disputes prevented the sides from finalizing the agreement before a self-imposed June 30 deadline. Talks are now expected to continue through July 9. (Read more here.)

This is called ‘having your cake and eating it too‘. Epic failure and sheer lunacy. Obama is establishing a legacy – a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, where evil people are empowered and are armed with the worst weapons. The chess masters are winning again.

3d render of gold bars background

Iran Repatriates 13 Tons of Gold Under Sanctions Relief

Iran to receive $11.9 billion in sanctions relief as nuclear negotiations end

By Adam Kredo – Washington Free Beacon

VIENNA—Iranian officials said Monday that the Islamic Republic’s Central Bank has successfully repatriated 13 tons of gold as part of a package of sanctions relief provided to Iran by U.S. and Western powers.

The gold was transferred to Iran by the government of South Africa, which had been holding onto the assets due to harsh sanctions meant to pressure Tehran to rein in its rogue nuclear program.

The gold appears to have been released as part of a sanctions relief package that will have awarded Iran nearly $12 billion in unfrozen cash assets by the time negotiations wrap up next week.

Iran received $4.2 billion in unfrozen assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the United States and was then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Tehran committed to the talks.IranCake2

The State Department calculates that Iran will have received a total of $11.9 billion in cash assets.

The governor of Iran’s Central Bank announced to the country’s state-controlled media that the South Africans have finally returned the 13 tons of gold.

“A sum of 13 tons of gold that had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past two years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions… was delivered to the Central Bank of Iran’s treasury last night,” Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency.

Seif said Iranian officials had been working for some time to secure the gold’s release, but that the country was prevented from doing so as a result of the “illogical problems that were created under the pretext of the sanctions.”

“The removal of Iran’s sanctions and gaining access to the country’s financial and gold resources abroad is one of the main objectives of Iran’s negotiating team in the ongoing nuclear talks,” Fars reported.

Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to Paris this weekend stressed that his country’s main objective in the talks is to end international sanctions, which had nearly crippled Iran’s economy at their peak.

“Fortunately, the West has come to realize that the weapon of sanctions has not been effective and has been forced to change its approach and recognize Iran’s legitimate rights,” the official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iran’s GDP has grown 3 percent in the last year, prompting experts to warn that ongoing sanctions still imposed on Tehran are not working.

“The report represents the latest sign of improvement in Iran’s economy in part as a result of the partial sanctions relief it received after signing an interim nuclear agreement in November 2013,”according to Iranian expert Saeed Ghasseminejad, an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

This rate of growth has enabled Iran to grow its oil sector and halve its rate of inflation.

“The erosion of the sanctions regime raise serious questions over Western countries’ leverage over Tehran in nuclear negotiations, and whether reaching an acceptable nuclear deal is even possible,” Ghasseminejad said.

US Judge Finds Iran/NK Liable in 2006 Missile Attacks on Israel

Editor’s Note – Who is responsible for the latest missile barrages from Gaza on the innocents in Israel? The same folks as in 2006, 2009, 2012… Iran, NK, but unnamed as yet, Qatar!

hamasrally2At least someone in government understands what is happening in the Middle East. A Federal Judge in the US finds for the plaintiffs over damages for the 2006 missile attacks on Israel then like now – North Korea and Iran LOSE! They will never collect likely, but the court did find out who was responsible.

Attention MSNBC – It is not about the “poor Palestinians” – or the civilians in Gaza, it is about state sponsored terrorism. By the way, those civilians in Gaza are either human shields, Hamas family members, sympathizers, and people of all ages indoctrinated into Hamas mentality and goals.

Yes there are some who were in the wrong place and wrong time, but most were every bit the soldier as if they wore a uniform, certainly not Israel’s fault. Collateral damage is always avoided to a fault with Israel, but are they really civilians?gaza-rocket

Also, remember this week, Iran is the country that John Kerry just released billions of frozen assets for a four month extension on nuclear talks. Also, the Obama administration just gave the Palestinians in Gaza $47 million in “relief” funds. Last we knew, Hamas is listed as a terror organization. Who again do you represent Mr. Kerry?

Judge finds North Korea, Iran liable for missile damages

A federal judge on Wednesday found North Korea and Iran liable for damages caused by a series of missile attacks on Israel in 2006.

The two countries are liable because they “provided material support and assistance to the Hezbollah terrorists who fired the rockets at Israel,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth concluded. A special master will now be assigned to determine the amount of damages that will be assessed; collecting the money owed, of course, will be a different matter.

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In his 18-page decision, Lamberth said “there can be no doubt that North Korea and Iran provided material support” to Hezbollah.

“North Korea provided Hezbollah with advanced weapons, expert advice and construction assistance in hiding these weapons in underground bunkers, and training in utilizing these weapons and bunkers to cause terrorist rocket attacks on Israel’s civilian population,” Lamberth wrote, “and Iran financed North Korea’s assistance and helped transport weapons to Hezbollah.”

Indeed, Lamberth’s decision in a case first filed on behalf of Chaim Kaplan and other survivors and family members in 2009 is a primer, of sorts, on the linkages between Iran, North Korea and Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah members began travelling to North Korea for specialist instruction as early as the late

1980s,” Lamberth noted. “Hezbollah General-Secretary Hassan Nasrallah himself visited North Korea for training purposes during this time.”

Lamberth added that Among other noted Hezbollah members who underwent training in North Korea was Mustafa Badreddine, who served as the movement’s counter-espionage chief in the 2006 war, as well as the head of Hezbollah’s security and intelligence service.

 

War, the Constitution, and Strange Bedfellows – Syria

By Scott W. Winchell, Editor – As SUA continues to report straight from the true leadership of the most senior commanders on the ground in the Syrian Rebel forces, we suggest that our readers consider the following article by our friend Andy McCarthy below and a few added thoughts.

Once again Andy clarifies that which has become so muddy in terms of constitutionality, along with Obama’s global reputation and its ties or separations with the American nation and its people. In our information gathering in the Middle East, not just in Syria, all too often the people there see our President incorrectly; they equate him as having the ability to do as he pleases and his actions are seen as reflecting the conscience of the entire nation. After all, that is what they witness(ed) in their own leadership; usually under a large and cruel thumb.

Therefore, we take great pains to point out that our President is merely a part of our government, a co-equal branch of three distinct branches, where dissent is common and encouraged, and checks and balances are supposed to rule the day. The current leader of this country speaks from the perspective of his support system, often very much at odds with other large portions of the nation. This concept is hard to understand in the Arab Street. So it is important to understand how they look at us, and our President.

Andy clears this up, cleanly and concisely.tomahawk-cruise-missile-bosnian-genocide

One facet that we would like to add though, is that just because we hear the term “Allah hu Akbar” shouted in almost every video we watch, it does not necessarily connote devotion to fundamental or fanatical Islam. McCain is partially correct in this regard, but he does not explain it well, nor does he realize that he is interacting with a faction(s) that purports to be the decision making body, but is not actually controlling and commanding forces in the field.

When in Aleppo, MG Vallely asked this question of the senior commanders, and they echoed the thought, and they intoned that saying “Allah hu Akbar” there is a knee-jerk reaction to powerful incidents akin to typing “OMG” (Oh my God!) here in a text on Twitter or Facebook! It is not, again not, always a depiction of fanaticism, there are many, many levels of piety in Islam. We need to stress again, Eastern culture and Western culture rarely coincide or translate well.

The people McCain, Obama, and Kerry believe to be moderates belies the term – an over used and misleading term; moderate. Those he calls moderate are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and worse. It is an oxymoron in motion again as we witnessed in Egypt, one doomed to be at odds with America. Some people never learn.

The people McCain and John Kerry, along with the President talk to concerning Syria are on the outside looking in, yet when invited to talk with the commanders on the ground, they look the other way. SUA has attempted repeatedly to point out this crucial issue, but only recently do we see movement in the correct direction among policy makers.

There are many factions in the rebel cause, yet only one is truly, fully in charge – keeping radicals at bay so as to fight only one enemy at a time. These radicals have not taken over the rebellion as many purport but they are strengthening with so much money flowing their way. It is disheartening to see and hear people like Karl Rove, of all folks, opine otherwise, as the true fighters, the nationalistic and more secular majority receive so little in the way of help.

Time for facts America, not political rhetoric, face saving gestures and ploys, misinformation and deflection, and keeping the public in the dark – just shameful, yet, our nation is once again asked to pour its treasure and blood into yet another foreign policy disaster. We should be involved, but certainly not in the fashion Obama and his crew have devised so haphazardly – “Keystone Kops”!

Is Obama waiting to launch on 9/11? Lighting those candles would be a travesty and a heinous nightmare!

On Syria, I Respectfully Dissent

By Andrew C. McCarthy – National Review

I respectfully dissent from the editors’ support for U.S. military intervention in Syria, which expands on the corporate position National Review staked out last week.

While the credibility of an American president is no small thing, it is simply wrong to equate Barack Obama’s credibility with that of the United States, as the editors do: “The other [option left to Congress besides green-lighting an attack on Syria] is to turn [Obama] down and destroy the president’s credibility, and hence the nation’s.” (Emphasis added.) Ironically, their editorial goes on to deride conservative opponents of military intervention as overly simplistic. But it is the editors who oversimplify matters. American credibility on the international stage is bound up in the recognition of, and willingness to act on, vital national interests. It is not embodied by any single political actor – indeed, when one branch of government acts against the national interest, our system is designed to enable the other branches to put a stop to it.Obama-Plans-Full-Scale-War-on-Syria

The editors miss this point because they have conflated two critically different constitutional concepts: the unitary executive and separation of powers. Thus does the editorial offer up Alexander Hamilton as an exemplar of the Founders’ allegedly harmonious desire for “a strong commander-in-chief” who could “act with ‘decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch.’” The implication is that for Congress – and “some on the right” – to oppose a president’s foreign-affairs decisions is to undermine our constitutional order and, thus, our government’s “credibility” (meaning, effectiveness) in foreign affairs.

In context, however, Hamilton was not arguing (in Federalist 70) for an executive unfettered by congressional checks and opposition. He was advocating that the executive branch not be divided – i.e., that all the powers granted to the president be reposed in a single official rather than in multiple consuls or a committee. Hamilton did not come close to suggesting that Congress should avoid impeding the president. To the contrary, he contended that his suggested unitary executive model would make it easier for Congress and the public to rein in executive power. As he put it in that same essay the editors cite, “the executive power is more easily confined when it is one.”

Indeed, as memorialized in the records of the Constitutional Convention, even Hamilton, though the most enthusiastic of the Framers for a powerful executive, acknowledged that the president’s commander-in-chief powers were limited to “the direction of war when authorized or begun” (emphasis added). “Begun” obviously refers to the situation when the nation has been attacked. Beyond that, presidential uses of force would be appropriate only “when authorized” – and the Constitution vests the power to authorize in Congress.

While I disagree with a number of his conclusions, a law review article by Valparaiso’s D. A. Jeremy Telman ably recounts the relevant Constitutional Convention debates. Pierce Butler, he notes, actually proposed that the power to initiate war be vested in the president. The notion was roundly rejected, with Butler upbraided by Elbridge Gerry, who exclaimed that he “never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.”

Telman continues:

As James Madison put it in a letter to Thomas Jefferson: “The constitution supposes . . . that the Ex[ecutive] is the branch of power most interested in war, [and] most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legisl[ature].” Similarly, writing as Helvidius in his exchange with Alexander Hamilton, Madison asserted that “[i]n no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found, than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department.” As Michael Ramsey put it, “Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, Wilson, Washington, Jay, Marshall, and an array of lesser figures indicated that war power lay primarily with Congress, and no prominent figure took the other side.”

No sensible person contests the president’s power – in fact, his duty – to take unilateral action in the nation’s defense when we are under attack or the threat of imminent attack. But outside such exigencies, congressional authorization is a pre-condition to the president’s use of force. That necessarily implies that Congress may disagree with the president’s assessment. As today’s Obama partisans were fond of reminding us throughout the Bush years, the president does not get a blank check.

I have always been a proponent of strong executive power. I do not believe Congress may micromanage functions the Constitution actually assigns to the executive – including command over war fighting once war is authorized. I do not believe Congress may usurp or reassign to the judiciary powers that the Constitution vests in the president, such as the collection of intelligence against foreign powers. Nevertheless, again and again, the records of debates over the Constitution, and the Federalist papers on which the editors rely, demonstrate that the Framers were more worried about executive excess than executive credibility. The controversy was not between those who wanted a strong executive and those who did not; it was between those who believed the proposed constitution included enough checks against potential executive abuse and those who thought it needed more.

constitution burningConsequently, the Framers armed Congress with the power to declare war. (As our prior discussions here have elucidated, while I am in broad agreement with many aspects of my friend John Yoo’s analysis of constitutional power – see e.g., here – I respectfully disagree with his minimization of Congress’s Article I power to declare war, an interpretation tough to square with the recorded sentiments of Madison, among other framers.) The Constitution further enables Congress to defund military operations. It expressly limits appropriations for a standing federal army to two-year periods – precisely because the Framers worried that control over a powerful, permanent army would lead to abuses of presidential power.

Moreover, the Constitution denies the president the power make treaties unilaterally – he must obtain the approval of a Senate supermajority. Naturally, this arrangement can lead to embarrassing strikes against presidential credibility. After all, the president signs on to international compacts, ostensibly committing the nation to them, before submitting them for Senate consent. Yet the list of treaties that have not been ratified is long (see, e.g., here). Not only has congressional opposition to presidentially endorsed treaties not led to any discernible diminution of American – as opposed to presidential – credibility;National Review often finds itself standing athwart bad treaties, yelling, “Stop!” In 2010, for example, the editors were justifiably adamant that the “New START” pact negotiated with the Russians by President Obama was a terrible deal for the United States, and they thus urged the Senate to “send the administration back to the negotiating table.” No one seemed too terribly worried that American credibility would be wounded by such interference with the president’s capacity to act decisively and with dispatch on the world stage.

That is probably because the editors recognize, even if it has temporarily escaped them in connection with Syria, that national credibility and presidential credibility are not the same thing. National credibility is a combination of factors that prominently include vital national interests and the public’s perception of those interests, as well as the president’s credibility. It is not Congress’s job to rescue a president’s credibility by approving his recklessness; it is the president’s job to preserve his credibility by aligning his “red lines” with the country’s interests rather than his own post-American ideology.

Libya did not, as the editors suggest, give up its nuclear program just because President Bush acted decisively in toppling Saddam Hussein. Qaddafi forfeited his program because the 9/11 attacks convinced the American public – including, for a time, much of the Left – that the U.S. could not abide the risk of WMD left in the hands of regimes that had a demonstrated propensity to cooperate with anti-American jihadists. Those political conditions induced Bush to act against Afghanistan and caused the public to support – again, for a time – action against Iraq. But once the public sensed that there was no longer a connection between Bush’s military operations and American national security – i.e., once the missions became more identified with dubious Islamic democracy promotion than with crushing terrorists and their state sponsors – political support waned. For all the Democrats’ “Bush lied and people died” demagoguery, the problem was not President Bush’s credibility; it was that the incoherent and costly missions no longer seemed to be in America’s vital interests.

The editors’ related point about Iran and Hezbollah is similarly ill-conceived. Iran already knows the United States is not serious about warnings not to acquire WMDs. For decades, we have known that Iran’s client, Assad, has chemical weapons; that Iran has some WMD and is working assiduously to add nukes to its arsenal; and that the mullahs facilitate terrorist organizations in attacks against the United States. In response, we have done virtually nothing. As for Hezbollah – which is Iran’s forward terrorist wing and has had a working relationship with al-Qaeda since the early Nineties – its operatives have killed hundreds of Americans, again with no comeuppance. In light of this shameful history of epic, bipartisan national-security failure, do the editors seriously think Iran and Hezbollah’s judgment about American credibility hangs on today’s comparative trifle – viz., whether Congress authorizes strikes against Syria so limited that Obama vows they will not seek or achieve regime change? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the “self-inflicted humiliation” train left the station long ago.

The issue in Syria is not Obama’s credibility. It is that there is no national interest in seeing one set of America’s mortal enemies prevail over another, while there is merit in letting them beat each others’ brains in if that’s what they’re determined to do. If a threat were to arise tomorrow in which American national security were truly at stake, Congress’s refusal to endorse Obama’s bungling of episodes in which it was not at stake would make no difference – no more than the Left’s campaign to delegitimize and discredit Bush after the 2000 election debacle had the slightest impact on Bush’s capacity to respond rapidly and robustly to the 9/11 attacks.

Since there is no American interest in seeing factions dominated by al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood prevail over Assad and his backers, the editors have to invent one. Thus, with an unintentionally amusing admonition against any “unrealistic expectation for what we can achieve in Syria,” the editors call for “strengthening elements of the Syrian opposition we can trust.” And who are those elements? The editors don’t say – after all, to describe them accurately would be to admit that they do not exist in anything approaching the numbers capable of overcoming the Islamic supremacists on opposing sides of the civil war.

The editors apparently believe this void can be filled by what I’ve called the “Vacuum” fantasy. This narrative, popular among neoconservatives and Beltway Republicans, holds that our problems in the Middle East stem not from the region’s Islamic supremacist culture but from the vacuum supposedly created by what the editors call “Obama’s policy of passivity.” It is this policy, we are to believe, that has caused the Syrian opposition to become “more radical.” Apparently, if the administration had been more engaged, the Muslim Brotherhood would have melted away – although, given that Obama’s idea of engagement is to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s not altogether clear how this would have worked.

In reality, the Assad regime’s most powerful opponents – like Mubarak’s, like Qaddafi’s – have always been Islamic supremacists. They were kept in check by the ruthlessness of the dictators, particularly Assad the elder, who slaughtered thousands of Islamic supremacists in the 1982 Hama massacre. What has changed in recent years is that the American-supported policy of replacing dictators with Potemkin democracy – i.e., popular elections sans commitment to minority rights and democratic culture – has empowered the opposition. It turns out that Islamic supremacists are, if anything, more anti-democratic than the dictators, and just as brutal when they get their hands on power. The American policy in question is not one Obama came up with, even if his unabashed embrace of Islamic supremacists has made things worse.

The editors would have the administration “craft and lead an international coalition committed to a post-Assad Syria.” Committed to what kind of post-Assad Syria? Again, they don’t say, other than that, whatever it will be, it will require “staying engaged beyond the next few weeks.”

So is the plan to do Iraq again – at enormous cost, occupy a country in which the only thing opposing Islamists agree about is how much they hate us and our occupation . . . until we finally get out of the way and let them get back to killing each other? Do we promote free elections and guarantee a Muslim Brotherhood regime – i.e., do Morsi Act II in Syria? Do we keep pretending, à la John McCain, that jihadists are “moderates” we can work with, that their Allahu Akbar!-raving aggression is no different from the religious devotion of average American Christians? Or do we prop up a pro-American Mubarak-type dictator who could never win a free election and try not to notice how he goes about taming Islamic supremacists? Whatever the plan is, where is the unified international coalition supporting it going to come from? And with no one able to articulate how getting sucked into Syria advances American national security, where is the American political support going to come from?

As for the editors’ parting shot, conservative non-interventionists are not foolish enough to believe “we can be done with the world.” We just insist on dealing with the world as it actually is – in the Middle East, it is more like Benghazi than Shangri-La. We want our liabilities limited by our reality, not our dreams. There are many ways for the United States to remain engaged and pursue its limited interests in Syria without military intervention and without empowering our enemies. That may sound “simple,” but better that than delusional.

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Additional Editor’s Note – In paragraph 14, an extra “the” was in the following sentence: “…I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the “self-inflicted humiliation” the train left the station long ago” – we have removed this minor error above.