Friday, October 31, 2014

Buffer Zone

Now that's ironic irony for ya!

While 44's Jay Vee team decries wicked Little Satan crafting a buffer zone of sorts with apartments, shopping centres, cinemas and libraries -at the expense of darling Palestine - Pyramidland is using bulldozers, panzers and dynamite to craft a no man's land buffer zone - at the expense of darling Palestine!


The demolitions, cutting through crowded neighborhoods in the border town of Rafah, began with orders to evacuate Tuesday and were part of a sweeping security response by the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to months of deadly militant attacks on Egyptian security personnel in the Sinai Peninsula, including the massacre of at least 31 soldiers last Friday.

The resort to a harsh counterinsurgency tactic — destroying as many as 800 houses and displacing up to 10,000 people to eliminate “terrorist hotbeds,” as el-Sissi’s spokesman put it — highlighted the difficulties the military has faced in breaking the militants as well as the anger that operations like Wednesday’s inevitably arouse.

The border clearing came as the authorities have signaled a growing determination to expand their security reach across Egypt, to counter militants, they say, but also to crush outbreaks of ordinary dissent, rights advocates say. It was also the latest instance of the government using the overwhelming force of its security apparatus to confront what it sees as a threat to Egypt’s existence, whether the growing strength of militants or the demonstrations by thousands of Islamists during the overthrow of the government of Mohammed Morsi.

The decree, which was issued while Egypt does not have a sitting Parliament, stipulates that people who commit crimes against public utilities are subject to prosecution in military courts — a provision that could potentially ensnare protesters marching on public roads.

Pic - "Holocaust of the week!"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Problem With Little Satan

Chicken Chiz!!

Oh, you didn't know?

It's true!! That rowdy rascally Little Satan has jammed up the world scene beyond repair with her cussed leader Uncle BiBi.

The administration critique of Netanyahu as a coward stems from its disgust with his failure to make peace with the Palestinians as well as their impatience with his criticisms of their zeal for a deal with Iran even if it means allowing the Islamist regime to become a threshold nuclear power. But this is about more than policy. The prickly Netanyahu is well known to be a tough guy to like personally even if you are one of his allies.

But 44 and his foreign-policy team aren’t just annoyed by the prime minister. They’ve come to view him as public enemy No. 1, using language about him and giving assessments of his policies that are far harsher than they have ever used against even avowed enemies of the United States, let alone one of its closest allies.

So rather than merely chide him for caution they call him a coward and taunt him for being reluctant to make war on Hamas and even to launch a strike on Iran. They don’t merely castigate him as a small-time politician without vision; they accuse him of putting his political survival above the interests of his nation.

It’s quite an indictment but once you get beyond the personal dislike of the individual on the part of the president, Secretary of State Kerry, and any other “senior officials” that speak without attribution on the subject of Israel’s prime minister, all you have is a thin veil of invective covering up six years of the 44th administration failures in the Middle East that have the region more dangerous for both Little and Great Satan. For all of his personal failings, it is not Netanyahu—a man who actually served as a combat soldier under fire in his country’s most elite commando unit—who is a coward or a small-minded failure. It is 44 and Kerry who have fecklessly sabotaged a special relationship, an act whose consequences have already led to disaster and bloodshed and may yet bring worse in their final two years of power.

It was, after all, 44 (and in the last two years, Kerry) who has spent his time in office picking pointless fights with Israel over issues like settlements and Jerusalem. They were pointless not because there aren’t genuine disagreements between the two countries on the ideal terms for peace. But rather because the Palestinians have never, despite the administration’s best efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their favor, seized the chance for peace. No matter how much 44 praises Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and slights Netanyahu, the former has never been willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn. They also chose to launch a peace process in spite of the fact that the Palestinians remain divided between Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas-ruled Gaza, a situation that makes it impossible for the PA to make peace even if it wanted to do so. The result of their heedless push for negotiations that were bound to fail was another round of violence this summer and the possibility of another terrorist intifada in the West Bank.

On Iran, it has not been Netanyahu’s bluffing about a strike that is the problem but 44’s policies. Despite good rhetoric about stopping Tehran’s push for a nuke, the president has pursued a policy of appeasement that caused it to discard its significant military and economic leverage and accept a weak interim deal that began the process of unraveling the international sanctions that represented the best chance for a solution without the use of force.

So why is the administration so angry with Netanyahu? It can’t be because Netanyahu is preventing peace with the Palestinians. After the failure of Kerry’s fool’s errand negotiations and the Hamas missile war on Israel, not even 44 can think peace is at hand. Nor does he really think Netanyahu can stop him from appeasing Iran if Tehran is willing to sign even a weak deal.

The real reason to target Netanyahu is that it is easier to scapegoat the Israelis than to own up to the administration’s mistakes. Rather than usher in a new era of good feelings with the Arab world in keeping with his 2009 Cairo speech, 44 has been the author of policies that have left an already messy Middle East far more dangerous.

Rather than ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his decision to withdraw U.S. troops and to dither over the crisis in Syria led to more conflict and the rise of ISIS. Instead of ending the Iranian nuclear threat, 44 is on the road to enabling it. And rather than manage an Israeli-Palestinian standoff that no serious person thought was on the verge of resolution, 44 made things worse with his and Kerry’s hubristic initiatives and constant bickering with Israel.>

Pic - "The administration will engage in a “showdown” with Netanyahu over Iran"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014



A magical place where justice and peace rule - where ebberdobby is answerable to the law.

That's part of the appeal for a head chopping, Xian killing, girl hating Caliphate.

Al-Baghdadi's brutal regime does not, of course, remotely conform to the classical Muslim understanding of what a caliphate should be, but it does evoke an aspiration with a powerful and increasingly urgent resonance in the wider Muslim world.

The last caliphate - that of the Ottomans - was officially abolished 90 years ago this spring. Yet in a 2006 Gallup survey of Muslims living in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan, two-thirds of respondents said they supported the goal of "unifying all Islamic countries" into a new caliphate.

Why do so many Muslims subscribe to this apparently unrealisable dream?

A significant source of the caliphate's appeal today is the memory it stirs of Muslim greatness. The era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs was followed by the imperial caliphates of the Umayyads and Abbasids.

The caliphate was finally extinguished by Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, in 1924. He believed the abolition of the institution was essential to his campaign to turn what was left of the empire into a 20th Century secular nation state. The last Ottoman caliph was expelled from Istanbul to live out a life of cultured exile in Paris and on the Cote d'Azur.

But the institution he represented had by then existed for nearly 1300 years, and the impact of its abolition on Muslim intellectual life was profound.

Muslim thinkers in the 1920s suddenly found they had to ask fundamental questions they had never confronted before: "Do Muslims need to live in an Islamic State? What should that state be like?"

everything changed in the Middle East with the foundation of the State of Little Satan, and Pan-Arabism was wrecked on the rock of Israeli military might. Pan Arabism drew its legitimacy from the fact that it was going to return the Arabs to their position of glory and liberate Palestine, with the abject defeat of 1967 (the Six Day War) it exposed a hollowness to the ideology of Pan Arabism.

In the early days of the Arab Spring, the revolutions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were interpreted in Western capitals as evidence that the Muslim future lay with democracy. Then in Egypt came the overthrow of the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government by the army under General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - and then came the horrors of Islamic State amid the bloody chaos of civil strife in Syria and Iraq.

The success of IS does, in a grim way, reflect what a powerful and urgent aspiration the Caliphate has become. The IS project is certainly megalomaniac and atavistic, but it is building on an idea that is much more than a fantasy.

Pic - "Peak Power"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ashura Attack


And so, as we approach November 3, the Islamic State is looking toward Karbala. Home to one of Shia Islam’s holiest sites, the Shrine of Husayn, Karbala represents a mouthwatering target for an Islamic State that revels in its destruction of Shia holy sites. Islamic State’s battlefield strategy is evolving. Desperate for a regional sectarian war between Sunnis and Shia, the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim, is using car-bomb terrorism against Iraq’s Shia population. Karbala is a major target of these attacks. The self-declared caliph is focusing on these attacks for two simple reasons.

First, with millions of Shia pilgrims traveling to Karbala for the run-up to Ashura and the 40 days of mourning that follow it, culminating in the Arbaeen, al-Baghdadi knows the highways leading to Karbala will be packed with potential corpses.

Second, Iran is providing a complicating factor by sending troops to defend some Shia cities. Aware that he can’t overwhelm these cities with military force, al-Baghdadi seeks to repeat in Karbala what al-Qaeda in Iraq perpetrated in 2006, when it attacked the Shia al-Askari shrine in Samarra. That incident ignited sectarian bloodletting that cost thousands of lives while forcing Iraqis into a death choice of Shia vs. Sunni identity.

As if that weren’t bad enough, with Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, recently appearing on the ground in Karbala, Iran is clearly displacing the U.S.-led coalition as a shield against the Islamic State. Unfortunately, Iran carries a sword along with its shield. In short, Iran is using the growing Islamic State threat to blackmail and coerce Iraqi politicians into its corner: an ideologically anti-Sunni corner. In turn, recognizing Iran’s growing strength, its great Sunni adversary, Saudi Arabia, is intensifying its own anti-Shia sectarian agenda. The cycle of fear and violence is escalating.

If the Islamic State succeeds in launching a significant attack against Karbala in the coming days, the consequences will likely be severe. If such an attack occurs, Iran will probably unleash its own sectarian death squads against Sunnis. In turn, Iraq’s new government will find itself in the midst of a perfect storm, locked between the fanatics of al-Baghdadi and the fanatics of Ayatollah Khamenei.

And it isn’t just Iraq at stake. With sectarian tensions already exploding in Lebanon, there’s no telling where this storm might end.

Pic - "There is a unifying enemy though..."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Declaration Of War

Oh Snap!!

On September 21, 2014, Al-Furqan, the media company of the Islamic State (IS), released a 42-minute audio message by IS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-'Adnani. In the message, titled " Your Lord Is Ever Watchful" (Koran 89:14), Al-'Adnani calls upon IS supporters worldwide to kill Westerners, especially French and American, in response to the Western campaign against the IS. He stresses that all of the group's supporters have an obligation to act, each according to his ability. Each Muslim, he says, can choose his method, whether it is shooting, beheading or setting fires – as long as it achieves the goal of distracting and rattling the infidels and thereby helping the IS repel the "crusade" of the Western countries against it.

Deriding the US President's decision to fight the IS from the air, Al-'Adnani assesses that eventually the Americans and their allies will have to resort to a ground campaign, which will end in a resounding defeat for the "Crusaders" and their Arab "agents."  Then, he says, the mujahideen will invade the Crusader lands, "conquer [their] Rome, break [their] Cross and enslave [their] women." He emphasizes that it is the Americans and Europeans that started the war: "You are the ones who initiated hostilities against us, and the [side] that initiates hostilities is the evil one." He adds that they will pay a heavy price: their economy will collapse, and their citizens will not be able to travel abroad or even sleep safely in their beds of walk safely in their streets, for fear of the Muslims.

The following are details.

The U.S. And Its Allies Seem Powerful, But In Practice They Are "A Cowardly Enemy, Trembling And Defeated"

Al-'Adnani begins by mocking the U.S. and its allies, saying that they pretend to be powerful and confident but in practice they are "a cowardly enemy, trembling and defeated."

Addressing IS members, he said:

"O soldiers of the Islamic State, what a great thing you have achieved, by Allah! Your reward is upon Him. By Allah, He has healed the chests of the believers through the killing of the Nusayriyyah [Alawites] and Rāfidah [Shiites] at your hands. He has filled the hearts of the unbelievers and hypocrites with rage through you. What a great thing you have achieved by Allah! Who are you? Who are you O soldiers of the Islamic State? From where have you come? What is your secret? Why is it that the hearts of the East and West are dislocated by their fear of you? Why is it that the chest muscles of America and its allies shiver out of fear of you? Where are your warplanes? Where are your battleships? Where are your missiles? Where are your weapons of mass destruction? Why is it that the world has united against you? Why have the nations of disbelief entrenched together against you? What threat do you pose to the distant place of Australia for it to send its legions towards you? What does Canada have anything to do with you?"

Al-Adnani went on to threaten: "Know... that [the war] is much greater and more dangerous than you imagine. We hereby inform you that a new era has begun today: there is an [Islamic] state and it is ruled by its sons and soldiers, who are no longer slaves. This is a generation that knows not the meaning of defeat, and the outcomes of its battles speak for themselves... We promise you that this campaign will be your last and it will collapse and fail, just as all your other campaigns collapsed. But this time, when the war ends we will be the ones to invade your countries, whereas you will no longer invade [ours]. We will invade your Rome, break your Cross and enslave your women, with Allah's help. This is His promise and he will not break it until it is realized. And if we do not achieve this, our sons or grandsons will, and they will sell your sons and grandsons as slaves."

The spokesman notes that, when U.S. President Barak Obama promised to withdraw the U.S. forces by 2012, the mujahideen did not believe him, and now he is proving that they were right, for U.S. military units have remained in Iraq, hiding "behind certain agents" (i.e., the Iraqi government and the Kurds). "Even if you [Americans] are unable to return to Iraq, we will come to you, to the heart of your countries," he says.

Obama, "The Mule Of The Jews", Thinks America's Arm Is Long, But He Should Know That  "Our Blade Is Hard And Sharp, And Will Chop Off Hands And Heads"

Addressing Obama, Al-'Adnani says: "O Obama, O mule of the Jews, you are despicable, despicable, despicable. Is this all you have managed to arrange as a war against us? Has America reached such a degree of weakness and helplessness? Is America and all its allies, from the Crusaders to the infidels, unable to wage a ground campaign? Have you not understood, O Crusaders, that a war [fought] by means of agents will not avail you, and will not avail him [Obama]? Have you not understood, O mule of the Jews, that the campaign will never be decided from the air alone? Do you think you are cleverer than the imbecilic [George] Bush, who came [to Iraq] with Crusader armies and took them right into the lion's den [by confronting] the mujahideen on the ground? No, you are [even] stupider than he was." He continues: "You said, O mule of the Jews, that America will not be dragged into a ground war, but it will [indeed] sink into a ground [war] and will be dragged to its death, to its grave and to its destruction. O, Obama, you said that the long arm of America will reach any [target] it wished. But know that our blade is hard and sharp, and will chop off hands and heads, and the eye of your Lord is ever watchful."

Addressing the American and European people, Al-'Adnani adds: "The IS did not launch a war against you, as your lying governments and your media claim. You are the ones who initiated hostilities against us, and the [side] that initiates hostilities is the evil one. You will pay [for it] dearly when your economies collapse. You will pay dearly when your sons are sent to fight us and return crippled and damaged, in coffins or as lunatics. You will pay when each of you feels afraid to travel abroad. You will pay when you walk the streets in trepidation, for fear of the Muslims. You will not be safe in your own beds. You will pay the price when your Crusader war fails, and then we invade the very heart of your countries. After that you will never again be aggressive towards anyone..." Turning to the Muslims, he warns them about the hypocrisy of the Americans and their allies, saying that the Americans are not coming to protect the innocent, as they claim, but only to protect their interest in Erbil and Iraq.

"If You Are Able To Kill An American Or European Infidel... Then Put Your Trust In Allah And Kill Him"

Al-'Adnani urges IS supporters and all members of the Salafi-jihadi stream to rise up and kill Westerners everywhere, civilians and soldiers alike: "O monotheists [the reference is to members of the Salafi-jihadi stream] in Europe, America, Australia and Canada… O lovers of the Islamic State everywhere. O supporters of the caliphate, who consider themselves its soldiers and supporters! Your state is facing a new crusade. O monotheists, wherever you may be, what are you doing to help your brethren? What are you waiting for, while mankind has split into two camps, and the war intensifies from day to day? O monotheist, we urge you to defend the Islamic State, as dozens of countries have banded against it and have begun fighting us on every front. Arise, monotheist, and defend your state from your place of residence, wherever you may be… O monotheist, don't sit out this war, wherever you may be. [Attack] the tyrants' soldiers, their police and security forces, their intelligence [forces] and collaborators. Cause them to lose sleep, make their lives miserable, and cause them to be preoccupied with their own [problems]. If you are able to kill an American or European infidel – particularly any of the hostile, impure Frenchmen – or an Australian or a Canadian, or any [other] infidel enemy from the countries that have banded against the Islamic State, then put your trust in Allah and kill him, by any way or means. Do not consult anyone and do not seek a fatwa from anyone. It is immaterial if the infidel is a combatant or a civilian. Their sentence is one; they are both infidels, both enemies. The blood of both is permitted…"

"If You Cannot [Detonate] A Bomb Or [Fire] A Bullet, Arrange To Meet Alone With A French Or An American Infidel And Bash His Skull In With A Rock, Slaughter Him With A Knife, Run Him Over With Your Car, Throw Him Off A Cliff, Strangle Him, Or Inject Him With Poison"

After quoting some Koranic verses permitting to kill infidels, the IS spokesman continues: "O monotheists wherever you are, cause [the West] to let go of the Islamic State, to the best of your ability. The best thing to do would be to kill any French or American infidel or any of their allies… If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison. Don't stand by, helpless and abject.… If you are incapable of this, burn down his house, his car, his business or his field. And if you are incapable even of this – then spit in his face. And if you refuse [to do] this while your brothers are being bombed and killed and their lives and property are under attack everywhere, then examine your faith. This is a serious matter you face, for the Islamic faith is predicated upon the principle of al-wala wal-bara [loyalty to Muslims and hostility towards infidels].

Al-'Adnani beseeches Allah to help the Islamic State in its war against the U.S. and France, who he claims are waging a battle to the death against Islam.

In the message Al-'Adnani also addresses  jihad groups in the Middle East and North Africa. He praises the Sinai-based group Ansar Beit Al-maqdis for its actions against the Egyptian regime and urges it to continue on its correct path. Addressing the jihad groups in Libya, he calls on them to unite and end the disputes among them. He criticizes the inactivity in Tunisia, calling on its Muslims to rise up against their regime. Finally he addresses Al-Qaeda in Yemen, slamming them for allowing the Houthis to enter San'a without putting up armed resistance.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

Council Winners

  • *First place with 2 2/3 votes!-The RazorKick Turkey Out Of NATO
  • Second place with 2 votes The Right PlanetThe Strange Silence of Karl Rove
  • Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes Bookworm RoomIn Idaho, gay marriage is in direct conflict with religious rights under the First Amendment
  • Third place *t* with 1 1/3 votes Joshuapundit-Cheerleaders, G-d And Civil Disobedience
  • Fourth place with 1 vote The Independent SentinelCDC’s Mission: Ban Guns, Promote Bike Lanes, Tell Us What To Eat, Put Helmets On Our Heads
  • Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote The Noisy Room#Ebola – Blood, vomit and diarrhea-soaked hazardous materials piled to the ceiling…;
  • Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote Simply JewsDean Obeidallah on Bill Maher or how to stuff foot in mouth deeper
  • li>Sixth place with 1/3 voteNice Deb Amnesty Begins: Regime Prepares For Millions of New Immigrant IDs

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Peak Power

    Has the You Know What State/ISIS/ISIL reached the apex of military power?

    For a few months, the marauding jihadis of ISIS might have looked like an unstoppable army. That’s when they were moving at high speeds, their power blurred by hype and velocity. Slowed down by real resistance, a clearer picture takes shape and the limits of ISIS’s military power come into focus.

    At the so-called caliphate’s edges, in areas like the Syrian border town of Kobani, ISIS’s march has stalled and its armor is starting to crack. We may be reaching the limits of ISIS as a conventional military force.

    Facing a small Kurdish resistance and Western airpower, ISIS has been unable to take Kobani, despite surrounding and besieging it for months. That doesn’t mean the group is giving up, though, or anywhere close to defeat. The façade of ISIS’s power as a conquering army may be wearing off, but they can still revert to terrorist form and continue killing even if they can’t take ground.

    Early on, ISIS leaders committed to a risky gambit: They decided to form a state, which put them in open conflict with other world powers. The group could have survived as a terrorist organization or a local insurgency as it had for years, but instead wagered on the caliphate. That decision provided an aura of authority that attracted new recruits and seemed to pay off in the short term. But it also transformed a regional threat into a global enemy that was easier to target in the areas it controlled.

    Since then ISIS had acted as part state, part Taliban-style insurgency, and part al Qaeda-style jihadi terrorist group.

    Despite the pathological absolutism of ISIS’s beliefs, it has proved flexible on the battlefield. As the tactics that won ISIS its most stunning early victories become harder to pull off in the face of warplanes and fierce local resistance, the group has adapted.

    Depending on the enemy it faces, and its own vulnerabilities, ISIS moves along the state-terrorist spectrum of power. Blending into the local population in one area to operate in the shadows, while marching openly through the streets elsewhere. In battle, it means the ability to shift from suicide bombers to tank columns and maneuver warfare in the span of a day.

    While Mosul showed what ISIS was capable of against a weakened enemy, the Kurdish town of Kobani is proving the limits of ISIS’s ability against a determined resistance.

    If ISIS can’t break Kobani through a conventional military assault, the group can always revert to terrorist form. On Monday in Baghdad—another city ISIS has been attacking for months with far less chances of capturing—a suicide bomber killed 17 people.

    Without an opposing ground force capable of defeating them, air power may push ISIS back from Kobani’s walls, but that won’t stop its attacks. It’ll adapt again and survive as it has for more than a decade.

    Pic - "What would happen to ISIS as a political, military and terrorist operation if Abu Bakr were eliminated? What would happen to the dream of a resurrected Caliphate that would organize all Islam?"

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    Core al Qaeda

    Last month, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula issued an unprecedented joint Twitter statement calling on easily excited and somewhat unhinged mohammedists “to support our people in Iraq and Sham” against “America, the source of evil and symbol of corruption and injustice.”

    And this month AQAP, led by al-Qaeda general manager Nasir al-Wuhayshi, issued a statement urging “all Muslims to back their brethren” — the Islamic State — “with their souls, money and tongues, against the crusaders.”

    The message coming from Ayman al-Zawahiri’s No. 2 stood in contrast to the refrain that al-Qaeda despises ISIS and their irreconcilable differences negate any threat of a unified terrorist front. “We call on anyone who can wear down the Americans to strive to do so by military, economic or media means.”

    Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told PJM that the White House “created” this problem of stronger al-Qaeda franchises by “taking their foot off the pedal and telling the American people al-Qaeda is on the run.”

    “This ‘core al-Qaeda’ concept is a political narrative now coming back to bite all of us,” he said.

    In a May 2013 address at National Defense University, President Obama declared, “Today, the core of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11.”

    On Aug. 7, 2013, Obama told Marines at Camp Pendleton that “al-Qaeda’s top ranks have been hammered.”

    “The core of al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is on the way to defeat,” he added.

    Two days later, when questioned about this in a press conference at the White House, the president reiterated that “core al-Qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated.”

    “So it’s entirely consistent to say that this tightly organized and relatively centralized al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 has been broken apart and is very weak and does not have a lot of operational capacity, and to say we still have these regional organizations like AQAP that can pose a threat, that can drive potentially a truck bomb into an embassy wall and can kill some people,” he maintained.

    And while Obama admitted in his State of the Union address that the “threat has evolved” with the growth of affiliates, he maintained “we have put al-Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat.”

    Nunes said the administration hasn’t even hit al-Qaeda as hard as it can as the terror organization metastasizes and grows because of “so many restrictions on airstrikes,” resulting in limited campaigns that dent rather than destroy.

    “They’re very limited — not just in Syria and Iraq, but all over the globe they’ve been on a downtrend,” he said of strikes against cells. “Which is troubling, because al-Qaeda’s been on an upswing.”

    Nunes, 41, who began serving in Congress in 2003, announced his intent to go for the Intelligence Committee gavel soon after Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said this spring he would retire at the end of the term.

    The California Republican stressed to PJM that as the administration plays up divisions between these terrorist organizations, the bottom line is “they’re all radical Islamists and they’re all cousins.”

    “It’s not even that complicated,” Nunes said, noting that self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi worked for late al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and claimed the mantle of al-Qaeda leader after Osama bin Laden was killed. “It’s not even tactical differences. That’s what the fight is over.”

    Zawahiri stressed in February that ISIS is a separate entity from al-Qaeda; since then, official al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS have mended fences in their common cause.

    Nunes cited former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, who called the well-organized, deep-pocketed Islamic State “al-Qaeda 6.0.”

    “They know the truth; they don’t care,” the congressman said of the administration’s reaction to the snowballing threat. “It’s all politics to them at the end of the day. They did the same thing in Benghazi. It’s just ridiculous.”

    Pic - "The extremists have recently taken a back seat in western media to their more evil counterparts, ISIS, but they are still plotting the destruction of America"

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014


    A few hours after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers and Zero fighters began a devastating offensive against the U.S. Far East Air Force based in the Philippines. Japanese soldiers landed ashore the same day.

    For several months, American and Philippine troops battled the Japanese onslaught. Despite a fierce defense of the Bataan Peninsula and heavy enemy casualties, 32 ordered the commanding general, Douglas MacArthur, to retreat to Australia before the Philippines was cut off completely.

    Before leaving and then again upon arrival in Australia, MacArthur bitterly vowed, “I shall return.” Seventy years ago on Monday, MacArthur fulfilled his promise.

    It would take over two and a half years for the Allies to return. In that time, the Japanese front expanded in the Pacific from the Aleutian Islands in the north to the Solomon Islands in the south. Hundreds of Americans and thousands of Filipinos died at the barbaric hands of their captors during the Bataan Death March. The Axis advance was finally stemmed in 1942 as the United States won a decisive naval victory at Midway and American and Australian forces repelled Japanese land troops in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. A bloody campaign at Guadalcanal that claimed tens of thousands of lives then ended Japan’s offensive capabilities. By 1943, Allied forces were ready to begin “island hopping” or “leapfrogging” toward the Japanese home islands.

    With American forces gaining greater control of the Pacific by the summer of 1944, a decision needed to be made over the Allies’ push into the western Pacific. MacArthur believed Luzon, the largest Philippine island, needed to be taken before moving closer to the Japanese main islands. Overruling Admiral Chester Nimitz, who favored bypassing the Philippines and invading Formosa (Taiwan), Roosevelt sided with MacArthur. Some speculate that MacArthur pushed for the Philippines primarily because of an obsessive notion of redemption. MacArthur also did not want the Australians to play a prominent role in the recapture of American territory.

    The Allies were ready for the amphibious retaking of the Philippines in October. A guerrilla resistance movement comprised of former Philippine soldiers, American soldiers who had never surrendered, local militias, and civilians had been harassing the occupying force and providing intelligence to MacArthur, but the operation would not be easy as the Japanese had amassed hundreds of thousands on the archipelago to defend Japan’s critical oil and supply lines from Southeast Asia.

    On Oct. 17, U.S. Army Rangers orchestrated raids on the small islands off Leyte to make way for the main invasion force on Oct. 20. After hours of naval bombardment, American forces landed and quickly secured on the eastern shores of Leyte. With a grand, photographed entrance, MacArthur and his staff waded ashore near the town of Palo that day. The larger-than-life commander proclaimed, “People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”

    As American and Philippine forces pressed inland, a massive naval battle, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, unfolded. Having lost hundreds of aircraft and three carriers at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the crippled, desperate Imperial Japanese Navy attempted to cut off the invasion at Leyte, but it encountered a much larger American force of two fleets.

    From Oct. 23 to 26, American and Japanese ships and aircraft fought in a sea battlefield of over 100,000 square miles in what is arguably the largest naval battle in history (More ships were involved at Leyte Gulf than in any other battle, but greater tonnage of shipping was present at the Battle of Jutland in World War I). During Leyte Gulf, the Japanese introduced a new tactic: the terrifying Kamikaze attack. Despite the attacks from sea and air, the Allied naval force repelled the Japanese Navy, which would longer have the strength to conduct to large-scale offensive operations for the remainder of the war.

    Although Japan had been cut off from the Philippines, the fight for the islands was far from over. General Tomoyuki Yamashita decided Leyte should be the main line of defense. The fighting at Leyte lasted until the end of 1944, and individual Japanese soldiers would fight until the end of the war. The Allies would take the remaining major islands of the Philippines by April the following year, but, like Leyte, remnants of the Japanese Army would fight on the islands for months longer. The Allies suffered 62,000 casualties in the campaign, while the Japanese casualties reached a staggering 348,000.

    Yamashita would pay for his ferocious defense of the Philippines with his life. After the war, he was tried for war crimes and was hanged after being found guilty. Many considered the trial a gross miscarriage of justice and Yamashita a victim of MacArthur's vengeance.

    Pic - "I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil -- soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people."

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Path To Defeat
    IS/ISL/ISIS on the rampage?

    Despite its advances in northern Syria and western Iraq, there is every reason to think ISIL may finally be on the road to defeat. In spite of its technical competence and impressive adaptability, the militant group may have overreached. The range of territory controlled by its fighters involves vulnerable supply lines and large tracts of land that are highly vulnerable to attack and rollback.

    This is particularly true in Iraq. ISIL may be apparently on the march, but as Michael Knights has recently noted in Politico, reaching the Sunni areas on the outskirts of Baghdad has probably maximised the limits of ISIL’s potential reach in that country.

    Moreover, while the American-led coalition has obviously so far resisted ISIL insufficiently, many of the necessary steps to augment air power, particularly in the Iraqi battleground – including augmenting Iraqi government forces and creating a “Sunni National Guard” – are in the process of development. It may take a year or more, but both should be entirely achievable.

    There’s almost no question that, having committed to “degrade, and, ultimately, destroy” the power of ISIL, the  administration has put Great Satan on an inevitable course of unavoidable and continuous mission expansion.

    It cannot afford either practically or politically to back away. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius recounts that American measures under consideration include: raising the number of air sorties from 10-20 a day to 10 times that number, the transfer of Apache helicopters to the Iraqi government, the creation of a no-fly zone on the Turkish border, the revival of a new moderate Syrian opposition force and the introduction of a limited number of American “ground troops” in the form of “advisers”.

    Despite its reticence, Turkey is getting closer to being drawn into the conflict. Ankara’s concern about the Kurdish PKK/PYD forces in northern Syria, and its commitment to overthrowing the Damascus dictatorship are important indications of where the United States and its allies have to accommodate others. But, in the long run, it is virtually impossible that Turkey will openly side with ISIL.

    ISIL is thus now surrounded by enemies. These include Westerners who know that they are the ultimate target of these millenarian fanatics; Shiites and other religious minorities who understand that the immediate future for them in any ISIL-controlled area is genocide or slavery; and the existing Sunni Arab powers and religious establishments that understand that ISIL is also a massive existential threat to them.

    More even than Mosul, Fallujah is the key to the pushback. Should ISIL lose control of that city, as it simply has to, its foothold in Iraq will be profoundly disrupted, and a pushback into Syria guaranteed. The real battle will probably begin in Mosul, but the end of ISIL in Iraq will come with the liberation of Fallujah. Then will come the far more challenging prospect of expelling ISIL from Syria, or at least neutralising its threat there.

    Finally, ISIL’s Arab poll numbers are simply dreadful. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy commissioned a recent poll in several Arab states. ISIL got a mere five per cent approval rating in Saudi Arabia – a most heartening repudiation. Egypt followed with three per cent and Lebanon with one per cent. Such marginal numbers tend to correlate with those fringe types believing in the most absurd conspiracy theories.

    ISIL is clearly exceptionally unpopular outside of the areas it controls. That’s a good thing. On the other hand, because it poses as a group that brings order to chaos, and because most people prefer any form of law and order to mere anarchy, ISIL has managed to win hearts and minds in some parts of Syria and Iraq where it has falsely posed as a champion of local Sunni populations and a generalised Islamic universalist and apocalyptic agenda.

    And what of the small percentage outside their areas who do favour them? Well, it’s already obvious that ISIL does, in fact, have a coherent narrative that appeals to a small but potent group of people who think that it really is a vanguard for the Muslims of the world.

    There are always extremists and fanatics. The challenge, as in so many other instances throughout history and geography, is for mainstream societies to come together – as indeed they are starting to – to make sure that they are not able to destroy the regional system, the global order and balance of power, and, especially, Arab and Islamic civilisation as we know it.

    The strongest evidence, reading between the lines is that, slowly but surely, this is very much starting to happen, and ISIL is, thankfully, on a one-way path to eventual and decisive defeat.
    Pic - "Walking Through The Ruins"

    Sunday, October 19, 2014


    The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. 
    Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

    Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014


    ISIL/ISIS/IS - Raid versus Invasion? 
    In an invasion, you come to permanently occupy the terrain. In a raid, you destroy the enemy and leave.

    Gen. Anthony Zinni, the former head of the Central Command, estimates that the equivalent of two Marine Expeditionary Brigades would be needed to systematically destroy the ISIS standing army; I agree.

    That’s about 20,000 soldiers, with one brigade attacking east out of Syria and the second attacking west through Iraq. They’d meet at the old Iraqi-Syrian border in a classic squeeze play.

    This would be a war the American people can understand. The number of cities and towns cleared of ISIS’ conventional combat power is quantifiable, and there is a recognizable military end state.

    It would not be without cost. In retaking the Iraqi city of Fallujah alone in 2004, we lost 94 Marines and sailors killed while killing 10 times that many Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters.

    This campaign of large-scale raids would likely be more costly and take months, but it’s preferable to armed nation-building, where body bags stream back for years.

    It is likely that when driven from the occupied areas, ISIS’ people will disperse and try to consolidate elsewhere. We have to plan for that; you can destroy an army, but not an ideology. We may need to attack them again elsewhere sometime.

    The political end state would be in the hands of the Syrians and Iraqis. We could do some advance good by training what passes for a moderate Syrian rebel coalition to administer and police the liberated areas of Syria after we’ve cleared them of ISIS fighters.

    Similarly, we could work diplomatically with the Iraqis to rebuild the trust of the population and tribal leaders of the Sunni regions.

    Yet there is no guarantee that they will succeed in governance, only that the ISIS threat will be dispersed.

    We must prevent a terror sanctuary similar to that which existed in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. We are the indispensable nation in this effort.

    And while we may be able to recruit a posse, a global marshal has to lead from the front.

    Pic - "The Spy Who Told Me"

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014


    Oh America! Is there anything you can't do?

    Juliet Marine Systems' Ghost exhibits a combination of "stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies," and is designed to combat naval swarm attacks of fast enemy boats, waterborne improvised explosives, and piracy. 

    As her name suggests, Ghost is intended to have zero radar signature, and the vessel is supposedly difficult for the enemy to spot, let alone target. She is like totally nonmagnetic and hard to detect via sonar, making her ideal for infiltration and surveillance of enemy areas

    Our Navy is in a revolutionary period of change. Historic military tactics combined with modern materials and technology present a formidable fleet protection challenge for our Navy today. One of the greatest threats to our Navy is low tech vessel attacks with conventional explosives, as seen on October 12, 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked, killing 17 sailors and wounding 39 others and in the continued success of pirates. As a maritime systems think tank, Juliet Marine Systems provides offensive, defensive and ISR solutions that are developed in a skunk works operation able to rapidly invent and construct needed technologies and systems for the Navy and armed forces. We have already developed a surface variant of a super cavitating craft and are planning to apply our unique technology in a UUV prototype. 

    While the GHOST is a surface vessel, the hydrodynamics of the twin submerged buoyant tubular foils are also a test bed for Juliet Marine's next planned prototype, a long duration UUV. The GHOST is a revolutionary proprietary technology vessel platform that will assure force protection through stealth fighter/attack capabilities along with integrated situation awareness. These vessels would create a protective fleet perimeter, providing sensor and weapons platforms, allowing no surface or subsurface intrusions.

    The GHOST is a combination of stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies packaged in a marine platform. The awesome capabilities of GHOST are designed to provide a marine surface and subsurface platform for tracking and identification of multiple targets. Systems for integrating on-board weapons will be designed to be capable of multi-target firing solutions while GHOST operates at very high speed. These weapons integration systems will also allow for attacking several targets simultaneously with a variety of weapons systems options.

    The same capabilities that have made helicopters valuable to get to hard to reach locations fast, will apply to the GHOST in commercial applications in the maritime environment. Crew rotations or resupply runs for critical items to off-shore oil rigs can be accomplished two to three times faster than the craft currently in use and would be far less expensive and have fewer weather restrictions than using helicopter assets. The GHOST is two to three times as fast as most ferries in use today.

    Pic - "A piece of the the action!"

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Columbus Day!

    Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue way back in 1492.

    This delightful ditty firmly places the date of the discovery of the New World into the minds of saavy kids everywhere in Great Satan.

    Later on, CC get's dissed in crash courses for introducing alien concepts like slavery, STD's, baby Jesus and advanced weaponry to hapless, childlike human sacrificing races in places from South America all the way to Alaska.

    What ev.

    What was the motivation for CC to split sail from Europa and head west?


    Find a short cut to India.

    The real quiz is quite significant. Why?

    After all, Europa was the centre of the world for the tech saavy Europeans - India's locale was well known since Alexander the Great's era and thanks to Prince Henry (the cat who put the 'gator' in navigator) sealanes and land routes could have sweetly hooked up to provide the fastest transport times circa 1500 anywhere on earth.

    Check out a World map from 1500 AD and the answer is prett obvious.

    Critical portions of any route to and from India were totally beseiged by totalitarian monarchies like the Ottomans, Safavid Persia and an unhealthy mix of sundry and "...various m"Hammedist states..."

    Plus, a newly reconstituted Xian Spain had just fought an expensive, bloody reconquista against 7th century time traveling control freaks and all of Europa wanted to get as far away as possible from said jerks and creeps.

    Amazing that the reason for the season of Columbus Day is traced back to probs that kicked off Great Satan's very 1st regime change and are facing the world today.

    Unfun, unfree and unhinged regimes built, cruelly maintained and by their very design expansionist, feature intolerance, nonegalitarian and misery projection with all the trimmings like slavery, pitiful lit rates and of course - violence.

    Detours allowing the avoidance of such 'tardist, backward civs were in high demand, thanks to Columbus - Europa turned her back on the faux, played league of failed states - and concentrated their efforts on the "New World"

    Pic - "Admiral of the Ocean"

    Saturday, October 11, 2014


    The Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse. 
    Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers

    Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    Getting To Yes

    Getting To Yes Part V

    “No deal is better than a bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program. So says the president, and the secretary of state (and his predecessor), the secretary of defense, the chief U.S. negotiator, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the State Department spokeswoman (and her deputy).

    Or not. In a little-noticed passage from her written testimony to the Senate in July, chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman wandered from the talking points. After ritualistically declaring that no deal is better than a bad deal, she asserted, just sentences later, “Compared to any alternative, [a deal] will provide a more comprehensive, lasting, and peaceful solution to the concerns generated by Iran’s nuclear activities."

    Under Sherman’s formulation, the imperative of reaching any deal effectively replaces the imperative of a deal’s supposed purpose: eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat.

    This idea — that any deal represents the best of all options — is echoed in the works of leading policy wonks and pundits. As the International Crisis Group recommended in an August 2014 study titled “ Iran and the P5+1: Getting to ‘Yes,’” the P5+1 should accept a “meaningful enrichment program” as part of a final agreement, because “the alternatives — return to the sanctions versus centrifuges race or recourse to military force — are even less attractive.”

    In a July 2013 essay titled “ Getting to ‘Yes’ With Iran,” Robert Einhorn, a former nuclear negotiator under the Obama administration who is now with the Brookings Institution, called for preserving the enrichment program with certain restrictions. In a March 2014 study, he contended, “No agreement that is reached will be perfect. But the test is not how it compares with an ideal but unattainable agreement; it is how it measures up against alternative ways of dealing with the Iran nuclear issue.”

    And in an editorial titled — wait for it — “ Getting to Yes With Iran,” published just after the signing of the November 2013 interim agreement, The New York Times stated categorically, “A negotiated solution is unquestionably better” than the alternatives, which it defined as “ratcheting up sanctions and possible military action.”

    Such counsel may seem not only reasonable but also empowering. It assumes the fundamental rationality of negotiating rivals, opens the possibility of advancing core mutual interests, and promotes the tantalizing prospect of crowning negotiators as peacemakers.

    Admittedly, the other side may occasionally behave irrationally. Fisher, Ury and Patton anticipate this scenario, and acknowledge that offering concessions to a hostile opponent may in some cases prove ill-advised. In such a predicament, the way forward requires not mastery of negotiating science, but the application of wisdom and foresight. Put differently, it’s a judgment call.

    Yet assessing the wisdom of a particular negotiation or final deal is not the purpose of "Getting to YES." Rather, as the authors explain, “'Getting to YES' is not a sermon on the morality of right or wrong; it is a book on how to do well in a negotiation.” Put differently, it’s a science book.

    And therein lies the rub. The trouble with the Obama administration’s strategy with Iran is that it has conflated doing well in a negotiation — i.e., getting to yes — with making a prudent judgment call on its long-term consequences.

    The arguments for compromise — specifically, for allowing Iran to maintain a significant enrichment program as part of a final agreement — have it backward. The true test of a good agreement is whether or not it eliminates the Iranian nuclear threat, full stop. An agreement that fails this test is not an agreement at all, but simply an unreciprocated concession.

    The administration should insist upon a high standard for a deal — including zero enrichment and reprocessing capabilities, dismantlement of the heavy water reactor at Arak and an intrusive inspections regime — and make clear that Tehran will face crippling sanctions if it refuses.

    A lesser deal would do little more than retain Iran’s path to the bomb and hence constitute a de facto endorsement of it as a matter of U.S. policy and international law. Such an agreement would thus guarantee — and build upon — many of the ruinous alternatives that proponents of compromise seek to avert by pursuing an agreement in the first place.

    For this reason, a bad deal is not the best (or even the least bad) option, but the worst of all options.

    Of course, Tehran has only to gain by negotiating, irrespective of the outcome. Thanks to the interim agreement signed in November 2013, Iran has pocketed, in exchange for minimal concessions on its nuclear program, some $11 billion in sanctions relief and increased access to global markets that will likely continue beyond the timeframe of the negotiations. If the talks ultimately fail, the regime has lost nothing.

    Meanwhile, Iran’s leaders — from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who makes all final decisions on the nuclear program, to the supposed moderates President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif — can continue to state publicly and repeatedly that they will not dismantle their enrichment program. For them, no deal really is better than a bad deal — defined as any agreement that prevents them from ever developing a nuclear weapon.

    Ever the optimists, U.S. officials have chosen to ignore these inconvenient statements lest they undermine the negotiations. After all, the path to yes beckons.

    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Worthy Fights

    “Worthy Fights” is Panetta’s addition to the Cabinet bookshelf, and it’s very readable, with the  descriptions of personalities and events that distinguish this genre at its best.

    Panetta confides that he thought 44 was wrong on some key decisions, just as Gates and Clinton did in their memoirs. Which makes one reader ask: Why did these officials continue to serve a president with whose policies they often seemed to disagree? Retrospective candor is fine, but wouldn’t it have been better to speak out at the time and perhaps even resign on principle? The country would have been poorer without their service, but we need officials who will tell the truth publicly, in real time, before they make the book deal.

    Panetta’s summa came in 2009, when 44 tapped him for the unlikely role of CIA director. The new president understood that the agency needed a skilled politician to rebuild its standing, and Panetta was an inspired, if surprising, choice. He quickly allowed himself to be co-opted by the agency’s prickly career officers (who excel at that, and at tormenting directors who refuse the chalice). He then went on a jihad against the CIA’s enemies, starting with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had made the mistake of calling Panetta a liar. She never did that again. Panetta recounts the “ugly struggle” with Dennis Blair, the retired admiral who, as director of national intelligence, was Panetta’s nominal boss and mistakenly thought he could impose the chain of command on a veteran Washington infighter.

    Panetta’s CIA career reached its peak with the discovery and assassination of Osama bin Laden in his lair at Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. It’s an extraordinary story, and it has never been told better than here. Panetta was rock-solid at the final hour, telling the president, “If we don’t do it, we’ll regret it.” But 44 was decisive earlier on, advising in early March, after he decided on the airborne assault, “We need to move very quickly.”

    Panetta’s account of his 18 months as defense secretary is almost an anticlimax after the CIA chapters. The Pentagon was, as Panetta might say, just too damned big. The intelligence agency, by contrast, was a secret family that engaged his heart and mind. It’s interesting that the two signature CIA directors over the past 30 years have been Panetta and George Tenet — both hot-blooded personalities so different from the archetypal Ivy League WASPs of the agency’s founding generation.

    What has already made news is Panetta’s criticism of 44. It clearly troubled Panetta, who loved his time in Congress, that 44 “was believed not to have found his time as a senator very rewarding and to be disdainful of Congress generally.” He writes that 44’s “decision-making apparatus was centralized in the White House” far more than that of any other administration he had seen, reducing the importance of Cabinet posts.

    The comments on Iraq and Syria are blistering. As Panetta saw it, the White House was “so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw [in 2011] rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.” 44’s departure left Iraq to its sectarian misleaders and prefigured the disastrous explosion this year of the Islamic State.

    As for Syria, Panetta says that 44 “vacillated” on his “red line” pledge to take military action against chemical weapons in 2013. He writes, “The result, I felt, was a blow to American credibility.”

    Panetta says he admires the president as “a realist and a pragmatist,” qualities the two men share. But he observes that 44’s penchant for “playing it cool” has a severe downside: “On occasion he avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.” From Panetta, who comes across in this book as a man who has never shirked a fight he thought was right, that’s a harsh critique.

    Pic - "Panetta is a scrappy, profane, devout, Italian-All American, Catholic mensch."