Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

CPAC 2013: Where does conservative military policy go from here?

Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster last week, in which he demanded the Obama administration clarify if it believes it has the authority to kill Americans on U.S. soil with drones, sparked blowback from some of his fellow Republicans, including Sen. John McCain. That has sparked debate about whether the GOP is moving in a new direction regarding foreign and military policy, or drifting apart into two, ahem, warring camps.

But foreign-policy and military experts speaking on a Thursday morning panel at the American Conservative Union’s CPAC conference sounded a relatively consistent line of thinking, albeit more about the use of force overseas while largely staying away from the topic of domestic drones.

“The proper natural end of war is your peace, the peace according to you, the peace you want,” said Angelo Codevilla, professor of international relations at Boston University. “Victory is that achievement. And defeat is in fact letting the enemy achieve his version of peace. …

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Emails show White House knew of terrorists’ Benghazi claim within two hours. So why blame a video for two weeks?

The Obama administration/campaign’s story about what happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11 keeps having run-ins with the facts. The latest comes from Reuters:

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out …

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Why George W. Bush was one winner of last night’s debate

First, a PSA: Jay and I, along with Aaron Gould Sheinin, are about to record a video chat discussing last night’s debate. We’ll both be posting that on our respective blogs around noon.

But before we get to that, one more thought about the debate:

You could argue that the winner of last night’s debate was George W. Bush. Before you tell me that’s ridiculous, let me explain:

One reason Mitt Romney was so quick to agree with President Obama on so many issues is that his clear goal for the night was not to damage his candidacy by not appearing “presidential” or believable as the commander-in-chief. He didn’t want to come across as a war-monger — as I wrote last night, that seemed to have been drilled into his head by his aides — and he made that point several times. He still has to win this election on the economy, and his aim regarding foreign policy was not to provide a distraction from that. I think he did that.

Another reason is that foreign policy is one area on which voters …

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Revelations from Benghazi are damning for Obama

This election’s “October surprise” may turn out to be the truth about something that happened in September.

Remember the rush by the Obama administration to blame the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on a reaction to a movie trailer offensive to Muslims? Well, like everything else in the Obama administration, that story had an expiration date. Here’s ABC News’ Jonathan Karl explaining:

For those who can’t/won’t watch the video, here’s the relevant section from Karl, citing a “senior State Department official”:

At the time [of the Benghazi killings], as you recall, we were told it was a protest that went bad and became an attack. Now we are told there was no protest going on outside that embassy. The first indication that they heard anything outside the walls of the … consulate compound was an explosion from gunfire.

Read that again: “There was no protest going on outside that embassy.” It’s not that the protest isn’t what led to the murders of …

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Poll Position: How should Obama respond to embassy attacks?

The big story this week was the series of attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East and North Africa: from Libya, where our ambassador was killed, to Egypt, Yemen and, today, Tunisia and Sudan. In Libya, the government is cooperating with the investigation into the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The responses from the other countries have been mixed, but they have been rather tepid on the whole.

How should Obama respond to the attacks on our embassies?

  • Cut foreign aid (255 Votes)
  • Pursue the killers in Libya; otherwise, lie low (173 Votes)
  • Stop issuing travel visas for people from those countries (130 Votes)
  • Bomb ‘em (108 Votes)
  • Economic sanctions (106 Votes)
  • Too soon to say (102 Votes)
  • Cut diplomatic ties (91 Votes)
  • Increase foreign aid (5 Votes)

Total Voters: 517

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President Obama made a mistake Wednesday evening when he said of the Egyptian government, which has been in place less than three months, “I …

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From Benghazi to Cairo to Jerusalem to Damascus, a question: Where does America stand? (Updated)

In March 2011, the U.S. and our allies intervened in Libya’s burgeoning civil war to prevent a massacre of civilians by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi in the coastal city of Banghazi. Yesterday, militants in that city — including, perhaps, some of the more extremist elements of the rebels whose cause we took up last year — showed their gratitude by killing four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.

“Lafayette, we are here,” it was not.

The murders in Benghazi followed a siege earlier in the day of the U.S. embassy in Cairo in neighboring Egypt. Both attacks were blamed on Islamic extremists angered by a film hardly anyone in America had heard of, made by someone hardly anyone in America had heard of or discussed, that purportedly insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad. (See screen grab below, a Google search for the name of the movie in question. Note: I stopped at Sept. 5 because results in the days after that date begin to include references to the attacks, which …

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On writing on 9/11, on and on

I’m not going to lie: I have a hard time writing about 9/11.

This is (for the most part) a political blog, but politics seems like a very small topic for a day like today. 9/11 is a messy day, not just because it’s still full of sorrow and anger for so many people who lost loved ones that day or any of the hard days that followed, but because still it is not a closed case.

On a micro level, there are still discoveries, such as the note that a Connecticut man dropped from a window on the 84th floor of Two World Trade Center that day, and which reached his family just before last year’s decennial remembrance, and which finally made it into the press this week. A fresh wound for them and, albeit on a much smaller scale, for the rest of us, too.

On a macro level, there’s a war in Afghanistan that began shortly thereafter and continues to this day. There are still tens of thousands of Americans fighting in that war, being shot at by our enemies and our alleged friends. Their …

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2012 Tuesday: Team Obama moves ‘Forward’ by dredging up, distorting Romney’s words from 2007

On Monday, the Obama-Biden 2012 campaign unveiled its slogan: “Forward.”

Yep, that’s it. As Washington Post humor-blogger Alexandra Petri observed, “If your slogan is just one or two notches above BCC, it might not be a great slogan.”

But never mind the lack of zip to the latest and greatest in Democratic bumper-sticker philosophy, or the fact that it won’t help the arguments that President Obama isn’t a Marxist. The most disqualifying thing about “Forward” as a slogan is that this is a president who keeps looking backward. Heck, even the video unveiling “Forward” as a slogan began with a retrospective on the 2008 financial crisis; the very first words of the video titled “Forward” are “January 2008.” I’m not sure that word means what the Obama team thinks it does.

In other forward-looking news, Democrats are using today’s anniversary of the Navy SEALs’ killing of Osama bin Laden last year to revisit some comments Mitt Romney made five years ago. (Forward! Forward!)

According …

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Ten years after 9/11, the terrorists have not won

“. . . or the terrorists win.”

In the weeks after That Day — if you’re aware enough to be reading this blog, you know which day I mean — that became the standard by which we judged any action even tangentially tinged by terrorism.

The premise was simple. Given enough time and national will, our military would defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida. A succession of attacks, even on a smaller scale than those of 9/11, seemed possible — but unlikely to bring our nation to its knees. So the thing to guard against was subtle submission to fear.

By Thanksgiving 2001, the Los Angeles Times was lamenting the overuse of “or they win”: from the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival (in a plea against canceling events due to fears of an attack) to Martha Stewart (”To me,” she wrote in a memo concerning employee Christmas parties, “the terrorists have certainly succeeded if so few of you participate in a companywide effort to ‘get together.’ “).

By New Year’s Eve 2002 in New …

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With killing of al-Qaida’s No. 2, some good news — finally

For a nation in need of some good news, the killing of perhaps the most important person in al-Qaida’s post-bin Laden leadership certainly qualifies. From the Associated Press:

U.S. and Pakistani officials said Saturday that al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group that the U.S. believes to be on the verge of defeat.

Al-Rahman was killed Monday in the lawless Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, according to a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence issues. …

A Libyan national, al-Rahman never had the worldwide name recognition of [Osama] bin Laden or bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. But al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in the terrorist organization, trusted by bin Laden to oversee al-Qaida’s daily operations.

At the Washington Post, David Ignatius explains a bit further why al-Rahman might have been a bigger target than …

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