Obama's strategy on how to combat ISIS is confusing at best, but one thing is clear: the battle brewing between Obama and America's top generals about how to move forward against the terror army.
Earlier this week during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey said there is potential he will recommend ground troops should the coalition with Arab countries against ISIS fail.
“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true but if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States then I of course would go back to the President and make a recommendation that we include the use of U.S. military ground forces. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said.
The next day, President Obama gave a speech in Florida at U.S. Central Command and stressed, "I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq." Obama has repeatedly insisted ground troops will not be used against ISIS.
Regardless, the line of generals and other high ranking military officials expressing skepticism over President Obama's plan and strategy is quickly getting longer.
"Half‐hearted or tentative efforts, or air strikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foe’s credibility, reinforcing his recruiting efforts which are already strong. I do not necessarily advocate American ground forces at this point, but we should never reassure our enemy that our commander‐in‐chief would not commit them at the time and place of his choosing. When we act it should be unequivocal, designed to end the fight as swiftly as possible. While no one is more reluctant to see us again in combat than those of us who have signed letters to the next of kin of our fallen, if something is worth fighting for we must bring full strength to bear."General Loyd Austin:
President Obama had been given advice on how to handle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but did not act on it, according to a new report from Real Clear Defense.Obama was preparing his strategy when he rejected the “best military advice” of Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command.
Airstrikes have halted the advance of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, General Odierno, now the Army chief of staff, told journalists from four news organizations, including The New York Times, in what aides said were his first public comments on the current situation in Iraq. Ultimately, though, “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said, referring to the Islamic extremists.
The airstrikes “will not be the end all and be all solution in Iraq,” he said. Similarly, he added, the jihadis cannot be allowed to have a safe haven across the border in Syria.
"In my military mind what you have is Operation Enduring Confusion. You have a President who cannot make up his mind about what he wants."
"I've spent my whole life hanging around the U.S. military. I've been on plenty of times with you from Iraq and other places. I've spent my life with these young guys. I'm waiting for the general or admiral who will stand up on his hind feet and say this is mission impossible. Given the constraints that you've [Obama] given we cannot accomplish the objective you have set. It is impossible to do."
"Somebody has to tell the truth...Some general or admiral at the Pentagon or somewhere else in Central Command has got to stand up and say, 'The mission we've been given we can do but we can't with the constraints you've places upon us.'"
Last night on The Kelly File, General Jack Keane gave his analysis:
And then there's this:
Gen. McInerney: “The president is fighting a political campaign… the generals are fighting an enemy overseas.” #KellyFile— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 19, 2014
The current situation in Iraq is a direct result of President Obama choosing politics over the advice of his generals. Even with the threat of ISIS, things haven't changed.
My visceral reaction to reading this story was intense anger. And yet, why am I bewildered that a terrorist organization that kills innocents has reportedly stepped up its efforts in urging rogue extremists in the U.S. to target American soldiers?
On second thought, I’m not surprised at all. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find their their latest tactic to kill Americans somewhat strange. Is this not the same army of barbarians whose chief spokesman (since killed in a drone strike) arrogantly prodded the president to “send [us] your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq?” If ISIS is so confident and proud of their own military capabilities, why must they resort to such cowardly and desperate acts?
Fox News has the exclusive:
A law enforcement bulletin obtained by FoxNews.com warned that Islamic State fighters have increased calls for "lone wolves" to attack U.S. soldiers in America in recent months, citing one tweet that called for jihadists to find service members' addresses online and then "show up and slaughter them."
There will be “a continued call - by Western fighters in Syria and terrorist organizations - for lone offender attacks against U.S. military facilities and personnel,” warned a July law enforcement intelligence bulletin from the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, a state-run agency that gathers, assesses and shares threat information and works with the Department of Homeland Security. “These threats will most likely increase should the U.S. or its allies attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Syria or Iraq.”
Given what happened yesterday in Australia, the West must be ever-vigilant and on its guard against coordinated and “lone wolf”-style terror attacks from ISIS. Our soldiers, it seems, are now top targets.
And while not wholly unexpected, this is something all of us should bear in mind.
The White House claims that Wasserman Schultz is looking out for herself above the party. But that's not true. Wasserman Schultz is only doing what the Democrats and the Obama White House want her to do.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said that the way Wasserman Schultz is being treated is embarrassing:
What the White House and what others are doing, throwing her under the bus, if they don't like the job they're doing they should respectfully ask her to step down, but treating her this way is just really not something that should be done.
An RNC spokesperson tells Townhall that "when they lose this November, it won't be because of what the DNC didn't do. It will be due to the failures at the White House."
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Bill Bennett interviews Marc Thiessen on why we need American troops fighting the Islamic State. Medved talks with John McCain about the best strategy moving forward in Iraq. Krauthammer tells Hugh Hewitt that Obama lives in a cocoon surrounded by sycophants. Bennett speaks with Marco Rubio and then David Gelernter on Islamic Jihadism and Muslims trying to stop Ayaan Hirsi Ali from talking on campus.
When the team of investigators enlisted by Chris Christie's office to look into the 'Bridgegate' matter -- which was comprised of former federal prosecutors with reputations on the line, by the way -- cleared Christie of any knowledge of those fateful lane closures, critics scoffed. Of course his personally-sanctioned internal investigation produced favorable results. Acutely aware of that skepticism, Christie made the following prediction during a lengthy press conference at which he unveiled the inquiry's results: "I think the report will stand the test of time. But it will be tested by the other investigations that are ongoing.” He was right, of course. If independent investigators had unearthed evidence refuting his consistent story, his credibility would be shot. And the probe he'd authorized would look like a corrupt joke -- an elaborate, crass, and taxpayer-funded cover up. Well, that report has been tested by federal investigators for nine months, and now we have our first meaningful look into what they've found. Or, more accurately, haven't found:
The U.S. Justice Department investigation into New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie’s role in “Bridgegate” has thus far uncovered no information he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York. The September 2013 closures -- where several entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Ft. Lee were shut down causing a traffic nightmare for commuters -- has been the subject of several federal and state investigations. Federal officials caution that the investigation begun nine months ago is ongoing and that no final determination has been made, but say that after nine months authorities have uncovered no information Christie either knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes . According to one former federal prosecutor, who had no involvement in any of the probes into the bridge closure, investigations of this kind will often turn up a solid connection early in the inquiry.
Many conservatives harbor legitimate wariness when contemplating a potential Christie presidential candidacy; absent major countervailing evidence, 'Bridgegate' should be stricken from the sources of concern. In fact, aside from the judgment questions pertaining to the fired staffers, it might even deserve a place in the 'positives' column. Democrats threw everything they had at the guy to try to kill his political career in one fell swoop. Much of the mainstream media was happy to oblige in the endeavor. Though they've wounded Christie, they didn't finish him off. Their obvious fear of him, coupled with his skillful and articulate defense of himself throughout this ordeal, shouldn't be discounted. Conservatives should also be mindful that the Left is increasingly weaponizing the criminal justice system as a means of knee-capping people they view as threats. Over the last year alone, they've come after Christie in Jersey, Rick Perry in Texas and Scott Walker in Wisconsin (which might be the most insidious case of the three for a number of reasons). The Right can and should have robust debates about personalities and policies in advance of 2016, but it must stand arm-in-arm against unjustified character assassination in the form of partisan criminal investigations and bogus indictments. I'll leave you with a bit of snark at the anti-Christie media's expense:
Bad timing: Salon piece today criticizes the "lapdog press" for not hitting Christie harder on Bridgegate: http://t.co/eMdef9UU4z— John Sexton (@verumserum) September 18, 2014
I'm sure MSNBC will go wall to wall with the Christie exoneration tonight, yes?— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 18, 2014
Yesterday Salon, a far-left outlet, published a piece in which Bill Ayers said Fox News Host Megyn Kelly had "very cold eyes" and that she is a very strange person. The comment came a month after Kelly conducted an explosive interview with Ayers on her show. From the piece:
She struck me as a very strange person. She’s like a cyborg constructed in the basement of Fox News. She’s very striking, but very metallic, very cold. Her eyes are very cold.
In response to Ayers, Kelly tweeted about his comments and then took him on during her show last night.
Bill Ayers 2 left-wing rag:"Megyn Kelly's eyes are very cold." Only when I'm looking @a man who bombed the USA & home of a little boy, Bill!— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 18, 2014
As for my alleged time in the basement, well I've never actually lived underground unlike Ayers and his wife Bernadine who evaded the FBI for 11 years. And then there's the eyes. The man's got a point, they can be cold, but not as cold as those of three people killed while making bombs for Ayers' group, but I see a tie, especially when I'm looking at a serial bomber who terrorized so many, including an innocent little boy.
The U.S. Air Force is allowing airman to scrub "so help me God" from their enlistment oath if they choose to do so.
CNN JUST IN: U.S.Air Force ends mandatory "So help me God" part of enlistment oath— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) September 17, 2014
The Washington Post has the background details on the change:
After an airman was unable to complete his reenlistment because he omitted the part of a required oath that states “so help me God,” the Air Force changed its instructions for the oath.
Following a review of the policy by the Department of Defense General Counsel, the Air Force will now permit airmen to omit the phrase, should they so choose. That change is effective immediately, according to an Air Force statement.
“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.
It has been the tradition of the military for centuries to include "so help me God" in the enlistment oath. The change came after an atheist group pressured the Air Force to change the policy and argued an the atheist airman at the center of the controversy shouldn't be speaking about a God he doesn't believe in.
On another note, Fox News radio host and Townhall columnist Todd Starnes has been reporting on the cleansing of God from the military for years.
“Today, the United States continues to build a broad international coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL,” President Obama stated Thursday night shortly after Congress voted to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight ISIL.
“As part of the air campaign, France will join in strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq.”
Obama confirmed that more than 40 countries have offered assistance for the coalition, including support for Iraqi forces, strengthening the Iraqi government, and offering humanitarian aide to civilians.
America will now move forward with providing training and equipment to the Syrian opposition forces so they may attack ISIL members in Syria.
“This program will be held outside of Syria in partnership with Arab countries and it will be matched by our increasing support for the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces in Iraq.”
Obama stressed that American forces deployed to Iraq “will and do not” have a combat mission. Rather, they will advice and assist America’s partners on the ground.
“We can join with allies and partners to destroy ISIL, without American troops fighting another ground war in the Middle East.”
Rather than be intimidated by ISIL, Obama stated that Congress’ bipartisan consent of the training effort showed the world that Americans are united in the cause to confront ISIL.
“With their barbaric murder of two Americans these terrorists thought they could frighten us, or intimidate us, or cause us to shrink from the world. But today they are learning the same hard lessons of petty tyrants and terrorists who have gone before: as Americans we do not give in to fear. And when you harm our citizens or you threaten the United States, or you threaten our allies, it doesn’t divide us, it unites us. “
Faced with attacks from the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Kay Hagan is obviously asking for money. “Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and everyone on the other side knows what we know -- this race is a toss-up,” read one of her fundraising emails. “They’re investing $23 million to tip the scales in their favor. After all, that’s how the Kochs usually get what they want -- they buy it. That’s not going to work here. To get this seat, the Kochs will have to go through us.”
Yet, she’s be given a significant buffer by a group connected to Sen. Harry Reid that is circling the wagons around Senate Democrats as polls continue to bestow good fortune on GOP hopes of retaking the Senate come November. Oh, and this group had to step in because the state-based super PACs aimed at protecting folks like Sens. Landrieu, Pryor, and Hagan were never able to get the “big checks” (via WaPo):
If Democrats cling to their Senate majority this fall, it will be in large part because of a well-funded group connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid that has helped build a formidable firewall around vulnerable incumbents.
The Senate Majority PAC, fueled by billionaires and labor unions, has been the biggest-spending super PAC of the 2014 midterm contests. Together with an allied tax-exempt group, Patriot Majority, the pro-Democratic effort has poured at least $36 million into ads and voter outreach, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization.
In North Carolina, the Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority have spent millions defending Sen. Kay Hagan, who is locked in a tight race with Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis. In Michigan, the groups have helped erode the standing of GOP candidate Terri Lynn Land, with ads that accuse her of answering to billionaires backing her campaign, “not to us.” In Alaska, the Senate Majority PAC has provided most of the funding for Put Alaska First, a super PAC backing Sen. Mark Begich that has spent more than $5 million.
The expansive presence of the Reid-linked groups has come at the expense of smaller, state-based efforts to protect Senate Democrats. A series of individual super PACs set up to support Hagan, Pryor and Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) withered when big checks did not materialize, said people involved in the projects.
The one thing that Sen. Hagan is right about is that the race will be a close one. On average, Real Clear Politics has Hagan with a four-point lead. Yet, if you look at polling conducted since January, you’ll see that Hagan has led Tillis in most polls.
Tillis has fired off fundraising emails of his own citing the Senate Majority PAC as the reason why Hagan might win re-election if his supporters don’t donate.
Yet, Tillis has other issues to address besides keeping his war chest at healthy levels. The Civitas Institute, a North Carolina-based conservative think tank, conducted a poll with unaffiliated voters, which make up 27 percent of the electorate on who they would vote for in the 2014 Senate race. It did not deliver good results for Tillis, but there’s room to maneuver.
While both candidates have approval ratings that are underwater, Tillis is viewed considerably more unfavorably. Seventeen percent view him favorably, 43 percent unfavorably, 24 percent have no opinion, and 16 percent haven’t heard of him. Meanwhile, Sen. Kay Hagan favorable and unfavorable numbers split evenly at 43 percent, with 12 percent having no opinion either way.
President Obama’s favorability rating in the Tar Heel State rests at 48 percent, with 46 percent disapproving. As I’ve mentioned before, this means that the Hagan=Obama attacks are limited.
If the election were held today, Hagan would win 39 percent of the vote, followed by Tillis’ 27 percent, and Sean Haugh, the libertarian, with 8 percent. Yet, 12 percent were still undecided.
If the contest were just Tillis and Hagan, Hagan would win again with 41 percent to Tillis’ 33 percent.
With 12 percent of unaffiliated voters undecided and 24 percent having no opinion of Mr. Tillis, there’s definitely room to grow as we enter the fall campaign. But Tillis may have to tweak his messaging a bit.
Tillis has aggressively tried to tie Sen. Kay Hagan to Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Hagan has tried to tie Tillis, who’s the Speaker for the North Carolina House of Representatives, to the “sins of Raleigh” in the state legislature, especially the $500 million in cuts to education; a talking point that’s a half-truth.
The Civitas poll also shows that national and state issues, including education, split–29/28–evenly when it comes to motivating North Carolina voters to show up at the polls. Thirty-nine percent said both sets of issues equally motivate them to vote.
As for the direction of North Carolina, 68 percent said the state was on the wrong track, while 19 percent said it was heading in the right direction. This is a point of attack for Tillis, right? Well, not really.
Of those who said the state was on the right track, when asked what issue the state was handling well; 16 percent said teacher pay, while 13 percent said it was education.
For those who said the state was on the wrong track, the one issue they felt the state was getting wrong was education at 35 percent, while 18 percent said teacher’s pay and 13 percent citing health care.
If some of you were wondering why Hagan was so aggressive in going after Tillis over education, there’s your answer.
In these races, it comes down to turnout, which is a department that Democrats will have trouble in as Election Day draws nearer. But also which stinks more Raleigh or Washington D.C.?
Right now, it seems like the stench of what’s going on in Raleigh is overpowering what Washington D.C. is dishing out.
So, was Hagan’s handshake with Obama the kiss of death? It doesn’t seem to be the case.
Today, residents of Scotland are voting about whether or not to end the over 300-year union with England and become an independent nation. Polls close at 10 p.m. GMT, and opinion polling has seen a surge of the "yes" camp in recent weeks. Some are predicting that the vote could be as close as the narrowly-defeated 1995 referrendum for Quebec independence.
The vote has come with significant controversy, as Scotland has changed voting laws to permit 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, and forbade Scots living outside of Scotland from voting.
Slightly confused American? The Guardian put together a handy video for non-Brits to explain what is happening:
Results are expected to be in at 7 a.m. GMT, or 2 a.m. EDT.