To my knowledge, only one news organization has been granted behind-the-scenes access to The Islamic State (IS) – the group sometimes referred to and formerly known as ISIS. Vice News embedded one of their journalists with some of IS' foot soldiers, and through his purview, we learn a great deal about the group's deranged and death-obsessed ideology. Above all, they’re determined to establish an Islamic State across the Middle East and, eventually, the entire world. As a spokesman for the group told Vice News: “I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established. And we will not stop. Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
These jihadists, it must be said, are the same cretins who have been slaughtering, raping and enslaving Iraq’s ethnic minorities in the north, and, as you will see in the video below, beheading and mutilating regime soldiers in both Syria and Iraq. They recruit and brainwash children, too, all of whom are susceptible to fundamentalism and their distorted Islamic worldview. Normally, I wouldn’t post such a graphic video on our website, but now that the US is committed militarily to ending the atrocities perpetrated by IS in Iraq, it’s important for the public to know exactly what we’re up against.
Needless to say, this video contains graphic violence, and is intended for mature audiences only:
(1) By my unofficial count, this is the seventh ceasefire or truce that Hamas has rejected, violated, or broken since the current conflict began last month. The genesis of this war, by the way, was the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers, perpetrated by a Hamas-funded terrorist cell in the West Bank. When Israeli entered the West Bank in search of the perpetrators (local Palestinians pelted the ambulance carrying the boys' bodies with rocks), Hamas stepped up its rocketing campaign targeting Israeli civilians. That bombardment has been going on for years, ticking up ever since Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005. Israel responded with force, culminating in the land incursion aimed at destroying Hamas' network of terror tunnels -- the purpose of which was to bypass Israel's weapons blockade, and to allow militants to slip into Israel to carry out attacks. The tunnels were built over a period of years, using supplies earmarked for projects such as schools and infrastructure construction. Child labor was reportedly exploited to built the passageways, reportedly resulting in approximately 160 deaths during the treacherous process.
(2) Hamas explicitly warned that it was preparing to resume its rocketing as soon as the latest 72-hour ceasefire expired. In fact, it looks like a miscue may have accidentally blown up a few of their own men in preparation for the resumption of hostilities. They ended up not just breaking the pause, but outright violating the temporary truce. Again. Perhaps they don't have functioning clocks, or perhaps they had itchy trigger fingers, or perhaps Hamas doesn't have control over the hive of violent radicals that pervade the Gaza strip. Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Egyptian government were all in favor of an unconditional extension of the truce. Hamas said no. Israel is now fighting back. By the way, a New York Times analysis of recent casualties in Gaza determines that the most disproportionately represented demographic group among the dead are…young men in their 20's -- a.k.a. the people most likely to fit the militant profile. Women and children under the age of 15, meanwhile, "were the most underrepresented." Why, it's almost as if Israel has been going to extraordinary lengths to narrowly target terrorists and avoid civilian collateral damage -- even as Hamas uses the latter group as human shields, firing salvos from crowded neighborhoods, storing rockets inside UN schools, and using a crowded hospital as a command center.
(3) The most depressing and most elementary reality is this: The Hamas radicals don't want peace. Their demands are slippery and ever-shifting; most recently, they're insisting that Israel lift its blockade in such a way that would allow Hamas to re-arm, unfettered, so they could gear up for the next war. (Israel already allows food, medicine, fuel, and legitimate commercial goods to pass through. Israel also provides much of the strip's electricity). The spokesman that Hamas has selected to represent them in Western media has been unable to answer questions about his own insane blood libel against Jews, nor has he backed away from they group's charter, which openly calls for genocide. If Hamas would simply acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and renounce violence, they would have peace. But they don't. People who reflexively blame Israel for the other side's genocidal hatred are flat-out siding with terrorism and barbarity over pluralism, peace and democracy.
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Bill Bennett and combat vet Bing West on the assassination of U.S. General Greene in Iraq. Dennis Prager on the potential Kurdistan target from ISIS. Mark Larson and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.—Ron Dermer. Israel PM Netanyahu's defends his country's strategy and tactics. Michael Medved on the CNN/Wolf Blitzer confrontation with Hamas Spokesman and "Blood Libel" believer, Osama Hamdan. Hugh Hewitt with Arizona gubernatorial candidate, Doug Ducey. Edward Lucas discusses his latest book, "The New Cold War" with Medved. Bill Bennett and David Gelernter on America's lack of resolve.
The RedState Gathering in Ft. Worth was kicked off today with a rousing speech from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was quick to draw on the experience of America's founding fathers in dealing with America's challenges today.
"When a tyrannical king in a distant land who was power-hungry and oppressive... when we were faced with that, we rebelled against it. And it was a good thing...
Thomas Jefferson was right when he said a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. And now, faced with another power-hungry oppressive ruler in a faraway place... [laughter] ... it's time for us to start a little rebellion.
But this war that we will fight will be fought on the battlefield of ideas."
Perry went on to discuss the power of federalism, the crisis on the border, and even criminal justice reform in the opening session at the RedState Gathering in front of hundreds of conservative activists. A good portion of his discussion touched on the draw of Texan economic success to other states. "For twelve straight years," Perry bragged, "we have led the nation in exports. And as of January, we led the nation in high-tech exports, surpassing California and the home of Silicon Valley."
"More people are moving to Texas than any other state," Perry said. "They are voting with their feet."
Perry even touted his record on criminal justice reform:
"Because of a simple change that we made in handling first-time nonviolent drug offenses, the Texas crime rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1968. [Applause]. For the first time in modern history, we are not building new prisons, we're shutting them down.
No one should be confused about whether Texas is tough on crime. But we're getting smart about crime as well. And saving taxpayers money."
The assembled conservative activists - many of them from Texas - enthusiastically received Perry's remarks. Toward the end of his speech, he discussed a new political action committee - RickPAC - that he's forming to support conservative candidates across the country, in 2014, 2016, and beyond. As governor who's leaving office soon, RickPAC will provide Perry the opportunity to remain active in politics should he decide to seek further national office.
Not only did we repeatedly hear that al Qaeda was on a “path to defeat” multiple times on the campaign trail in 2012, we also heard President Obama brag about ending the Iraq War and leaving behind a “sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.”
Via CNS News:
In the August issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, S.E. Cupp explains why President Bush may as well still be in the White House, because Obama can’t make a move without first thinking of him.
President Obama’s presidency is in many ways the sad tale of a promising and, at one time, confident rising star who instead withered into an equivocating and uncertain Hamlet-like figure. He is haunted by a ghost named President Bush.
What started as a rhetorical and admittedly effective political device to provide voters with a contrast between himself and his predecessor has morphed into an all-consuming and downright paralyzing specter. One that haunts nearly every foreign policy decision he tries, unsuccessfully, to make.
Bush may as well still be in the White House, because Obama can’t make a move without first thinking of him.
The result is a failed foreign policy made up of countless mistakes and missed opportunities. The first was when the White House giddily announced to all interested
parties that we’d be quitting Iraq. They did so far too quickly and without any apparent concern for the looming and predictable dangers. They even pulled much needed intelligence forces out of theater.
More motivated by sticking it to Bush and scoring the political win, Obama was happy to
take credit for stability in Iraq that he did not create, a result of the troop surge that he did not support.
The next clear mistake was dithering on Syria, a conflict many of us predicted three years ago would deteriorate into a vastly more dangerous one. That decision, to let Syria fester un- addressed, led directly to a frightening expansion of the terrorist state through the Levant. It was an expansion that occurred not overnight, but over months, and once again Obama’s Bush complex kept him from taking early decisive action.
In making his case for American intervention in Syria and Iraq, he dedicated more energy explaining what he would not do, again obsessing on the actions of the previous administration. On Syria, back in September of 2013, he assured:
“The military plan that has been developed by the joint chiefs and that I believe is appropriate is proportional. It is limited. It does not involve boots on the ground. This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan.”
And in June, upon announcing his decision to send 300 military advisers into Iraq, the over-compensation was palpable:
“Recent days have reminded us of the deep scars left by America’s war in Iraq.”
“Here at home, Iraq sparked vigorous debates and intense emotions in the past, and we’ve seen some of those debates resurface. But what’s clear from the last decade is the need for the United States to ask hard questions before we take action abroad, particularly military action.”
“I think we always have to guard against mission creep so let me repeat what I have said in the past. American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again.”
So, after waiting two years to make the case for Syria and five months to acknowledge ISIS in Iraq, Obama’s strategy for convincing the American people, Congress, and our allies around the world to back him on limited intervention in these conflicts wasn’t to explain their urgency, our self-interests, or our responsibility, but to declare our last intervention’s disasters. That’s like getting your friends to take a blimp ride by reminding them of the Hindenburg.
It’s no wonder no one was sold on Syria and folks are still very much confused and concerned by our presence again in Iraq.
And for a guy who sold “nothing” better than any other presidential candidate in history (he convinced a country to vote for a guy who had no record to speak of), it’s remarkable that his efforts to sell his foreign policy to any kind of plurality have failed so completely.
But it’s not a product that he believes in. And not because of any ideological impulse or conviction. He doesn’t know what he believes. “Not being Bush” has been his only guide. And so he hums that mantra until it becomes totally untenable. And then he’s surprised when, at the 11th hour, no one’s with him.
It’s a shame. Maybe Obama once had some clear-eyed ideas about how the world should work. But we’ll never know, because the only vision he’s offered is by way of another man’s. And merely doing the opposite of someone else is no way to lead a nation, let alone the world. •
S.E. Cupp is author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.” She has a weekly column in the New York Daily News and is a co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire.”
The IRS is missing emails. The EPA is missing emails. What's the latest agency to pull the "the dog ate my homework card?"
An executive at the Department of Health and Human Services, Marilyn Tavenner, is claiming emails requested by the House Oversight Committee as part of an ongoing investigation into the Obamacare exchange and Healthcare.gov rollout, have been destroyed. The claim came around 5 p.m. Thursday. These same emails were subpoenaed 10 months ago by Congressional investigators.
“Today’s news that a senior HHS executive destroyed emails relevant to a congressional investigation means that the Obama Administration has lost or destroyed emails for more than 20 witnesses, and in each case, the loss wasn’t disclosed to the National Archives or Congress for months or years, in violation of federal law,” Issa said in response. “It defies logic that so many senior Administration officials were found to have ignored federal record keeping requirements only after Congress asked to see their emails. Just this week, my staff followed up with HHS, who has failed to comply with a subpoena from ten months ago. Even at that point, the administration did not inform us that there was a problem with Ms. Tavenner’s email history. Yet again, we discover that this Administration will not be forthright with the American people unless cornered.”
Issa also said the Committee was not directly informed about the "destroyed" emails.
In each case, the loss wasn’t disclosed to the National Archives or Congress for months or years, in violation of federal law— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) August 7, 2014
Last night just hours before a 72-hour truce officially expired and while new talks were ongoing, Hamas terrorists sent two rockets into southern Israel, breaking the three-day ceasefire agreement between the two sides.
Once again, Hamas has violated a cease-fire. pic.twitter.com/3OPa5vViC2— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 8, 2014
Moments ago, 2 rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel. Terrorists have violated the cease-fire.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 8, 2014
Moments ago, terrorists in Gaza fired 2 more rockets at Israel. 1 hit an open area in Israel; 1 landed inside Gaza.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 8, 2014
In response to the renewal of rocket fire by Gaza terrorists at Israel, we are striking terror sites in Gaza.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 8, 2014
It is not clear if the renewed fighting will derail the Cairo talks, which are aimed at reaching a sustainable truce, or if Egyptian mediators can find a way to prevent further escalation.
Hamas officials said that even though they refused to extend the three-day cease-fire, they were willing to continue negotiations.
An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said Israel would not conduct negotiations under fire and would protect its citizens by all means.
The Israeli delegation left Cairo on Friday morning, and it was not clear if it would return.
It’s official: Sen. Lamar Alexander's political career isn't over yet:
Republican Lamar Alexander became the latest U.S. senator to fend off a tea party challenge in a primary race Thursday, defeating a state senator who had used a familiar tactic in trying to cast him as an out of touch insider.
Alexander's win dealt another blow to national tea party momentum after the stunning primary win over Republican Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia in June.
It wasn’t even close (via The Hill):
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) easily survived his Tea Party challenge on Thursday, dealing a final blow to conservative insurgents who hoped to oust a Senate incumbent this cycle.
With 19 percent reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Alexander with 52 percent of the vote. His main challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr, took 38 percent. Radiologist George Flinn took 6 percent, with the remainder of the vote split between several other candidates.
Of course, it’s incredibly difficult to unseat incumbents (especially incumbents who run solid campaigns and have been in public life for forty years). Those hoping for a David Brat-esque upset tonight will find themselves sorely disappointed.
Alexander is the sixth Senate Republican to survive a serious primary challenge this election cycle.