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Gulf Widens Between Obama, U.S. Military Over Strategy to Fight Islamic State

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The White House and Pentagon have scurried this week to insist there is no hint of dissent in the ranks, though in some cases their efforts have focused only more attention on the issue.

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 “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility. We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”

– Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis

WaPo‘s Craig Whitlock reports: Flashes of disagreement over how to fight the Islamic State are mounting between President Obama and U.S. military leaders, the latest sign of strain in what often has been an awkward and uneasy relationship.

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 “I think it’s very important that he does follow the advice and counsel that he receives, the professional advice of the military. They are the ones best suited to do that.”

– Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon

Even as the administration has received congressional backing for its strategy, with the Senate voting Thursday to approve a plan to arm and train Syrian rebels, a series of military leaders have criticized the president’s approach against the Islamic State militant group.

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“There will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy.”

– Former defense secretary Robert M. Gates

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, became the latest high-profile skeptic on Thursday, telling the House Intelligence Committee that a blanket prohibition on ground combat was tying the military’s hands. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.” Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Goldberg: ‘Muddled Nature’ of ISIS Strategy Driving Down Confidence in Obama

John_Cantlie-HOSTAGE

Meanwhile…there’s this:

ABCNews.com reports: A British citizen captured in Syria two years ago has resurfaced today in a new ISIS propaganda video released on YouTube. But unlike the previous gruesome beheading videos of three westerners, journalist  Cantlie is seen alive, seated alone at a desk in a darkened room, delivering what he says is the first of a series of “messages” about ISIS.

Cantlie was abducted in November 2012 along with slain American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by his ISIS captors, according to a former law enforcement official and others familiar with the journalists’ kidnapping. Read the rest of this entry »


Wake Up and Smell The Daesh: France is Rejecting the ‘Islamic State’ Name, Replacing it with a Label the Beheadng Bastards Hate

The Washington Post uses DAIISH, but DAASH, DAIISH and DAISH are also used. However it’s spelled, the group hates it. 

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“This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.’ ”

– Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

From the start, exactly what to call the extremist Islamist group that has taken over much of Syria and Iraq has been problematic. At first, many called it the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, due to differences over how the name should be translated from the Arabic, some (including the U.S. government) referred to them as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

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“The Associated Press recently reported that the group were threatening to cut cut out the tongues of anyone who used the phrase publicly, and AFP have noted that the term “Daeshi” has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East.”

To make matters more complicated, the group later announced that it should simply be called the “Islamic State” – a reference to the idea that the group was breaking down state borders to form a new caliphate. A number of media groups, including The Post, the Associated Press  and, eventually, the New York Times, adopted this name, while others stuck with ISIS and ISIL.

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“‘Daeshi’ has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East. Some analysts have suggested that the dislike of the term comes from its similarity to another Arabic word, دعس, or Das. That word means to trample down or crush.”

Now the French have added another complication. On Monday, the French government released a statement that included a reference to the group under a different name: “Daesh.”

France had hinted that it would begin using this term – how the group is referred to in much of the Arab world – before, but this week appears to be the first time that the country has used it in official communications. Read the rest of this entry »


Former Navy SEAL: Over 90 Percent Of Troops Do Not Support Obama

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According to former U.S. Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, over 90 percent of troops disapprove of President Barack Obama. Higbie made the comments to “On The Record” host Greta Van Susteren Wednesday.

“Effective today, the president? A photo-op? or something in between?” Susteren asked.

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“Photo-op. Complete photo-op. This indicative of a global failure of his foreign policy.”

Higbie explained. “He has toted that he is behind the troops before and he stands in front of these guys, gets a photo-op, everything like that, while saying he’s going to send 3,000 guys to combat Ebola, but I’m not going to send any to combat an actual enemy that’s really threatening America.”

“What do you think they think? I mean, I suppose it’s kind of a mixed bag?” Susteren pressed.

Higbie

“I’d say most of the troops. Probably over 90 percent, do not support the president.”

Susteren then asked Higbie about his time as a Navy SEAL, “As a Navy SEAL, you have trained foreign troops? Right? How many times? More than one trip to Iraq?”

“Absolutely, we did two deployments,” Higbie said. Read the rest of this entry »


ISIL bans math, social studies for children

Originally posted on Q13 FOX News:

In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS/ISIL , children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”

ISIS/ISIL revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

In the letter, ISIS/ISIL said alternative courses will be added.

It also said teachers must erase the phrase Syrian Arab Republic — the official name of Syria — and replace it with Islamic State, which is what ISIS calls itself.

Educators cannot teach nationalistic…

View original 170 more words


Sexual Warriors: How to Set a Honey Trap

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TRADECRAFT: Seductive spies aren’t simply James Bond fantasies – femmes fatales have been a key feature of espionage for centuries

goldhill_2934190aFor The Telegraph writes: The best security and military training in the world is no match for the charms of a femme fatale. Using feminine wiles to access state secrets sounds like hackneyed fiction – surely anyone with a secret worth keeping would run at the sight of a beautiful lady in red lipstick? But the oldest trick in the book never stops working, and spy agencies continue to use seduction as an effective method of espionage.

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“In America, in the West, occasionally you ask your men to stand up for their country. In Russia, we just ask our young women to lay down.”

– Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB general

Stefan Wolff, professor of international security at Birmingham University, says that few governments would consider seduction an off-limit technique. “If you’re in the spying business, any opportunity that you have to get information, you will use,” he says. “Especially given what we’ve learnt from Wikileaks and Snowden, not much is considered to be beyond the pale when it comes to key issues of national security. I would argue, maybe that’s the right approach. If you want to save lives then a honey trap is a much more palatable approach than waterboarding.”

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“I’d see a German officer on the train or somewhere, sometimes dressed in civvies, but you could pick ‘em. So, instead of raising suspicions I’d flirt with them, ask for a light and say my lighter was out of fuel…. ‘Do you want to search me?’ God, what a flirtatious little bastard I was.”

– Nancy Wake, a British agent during the Second World War

National Archives have revealed that special agent “Fifi”, a stunning blonde woman, was used to test the trustworthiness of young British spies during the Second World War. And there’s no signs that the technique has gone out of fashion. But how do you set a honey trap? Here are some of the secrets of seduction gleaned from the great femme fatales of history.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] First Public Benghazi Hearings Begin: In Opening Statement Gowdy Addresses Critics

 “I remain convinced our fellow citizens deserve all of the facts of what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi and they deserve an investigative process worthy of the memory of those who died and worthy of the trust of our fellow citizens.”

WASHINGTON — The Daily Caller reports: The Republican chairman of the new Benghazi select committee pledged Wednesday during the first public hearing to conduct an investigation “worthy of the memory of those who died and worthy of the trust of our fellow citizens.”

“Benghazi was not the first time our diplomatic facilities and people have been attacked,” Gowdy said. “The barracks in Beirut, our facilities in Tanzania and Kenya are a few that come to mind amid too many others.”

“I remain hopeful there are still things left in our country that can transcend politics,” South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the committee, said in his opening statement in a Capitol Hill hearing room. “I remain convinced our fellow citizens deserve all of the facts of what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi and they deserve an investigative process worthy of the memory of those who died and worthy of the trust of our fellow citizens.”

“So to those who believe it is time to move on, that there is nothing left to discover, that all questions have been asked and answered, that we have learned the lessons to be learned — we have heard that before. And yet the attacks and the tragedies keep coming.”

Earlier this year, lawmakers in the House passed a bill to establish the new committee to investigate the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Read the rest of this entry »


The Freedom to Warn: Michelle Malkin on Whistleblower Protection Post-9/11

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Every 9/11, pundits talk about how “everything changed” after the attacks. But the homeland security bureaucracy is as petty, vindictive, wasteful and stupid as ever.

Michelle Malkin writes: “If you see something, say something.” That’s what our homeland security apparatchiks incessantly preach. But 13 years after the 9/11 attacks, the freedom to warn is in danger and vigilant whistleblowers are under fire.

Listen to Robert MacLean. He’s a former Air Force nuclear weapons specialist and Border Patrol agent recruited by the government to serve as one of the first federal air marshals after 9/11.

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“I blew the whistle because I had to. I could not live with the tragedy risked if I had been the cynical silent observer.”

– Robert MacLean, federal air marshal testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His legal case heads to the Supreme Court this fall

In 2003, MacLean underwent emergency training to prepare for a new round of al-Qaida hijacking threats. Jihadists exploiting visa and screening loopholes had planned to target East Coast airliners, according to intelligence analysts. For unknown reasons, however, the Transportation Security Administration abruptly called off air marshals from duty on nonstop, long-distance flights — just two days before the anticipated hijacking.

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“Quinn, a former Secret Service agent, insisted that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. Yes, really. Marshals were ordered to dress like characters straight out of ‘Men in Black’ — leaving them vulnerable to terrorist identification. Critics of the code dubbed Quinn the Captain Queeg of homeland security.”

How did they notify the air marshals? Cue the Keystone Cops. “TSA chose to send the unlabeled text message to our unsecured Nokia 3310 cellular phones instead of our $22 million encrypted smart phone system. There were no markings or secrecy restrictions on the message,” MacLean recounted to Congress this week. “We all thought it was a joke given the special training we had just received and the post-9/11 law that nonstop long-distance flights were a priority.”

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“How did they notify the air marshals? Cue the Keystone Cops. “TSA chose to send the unlabeled text message to our unsecured Nokia 3310 cellular phones instead of our $22 million encrypted smart phone system.”

A supervisor told MacLean the agency was broke and there was nothing he could do. Appalled at both the dangerous pullback and the reckless way in which the feds notified the air marshals, MacLean then contacted his department’s inspector general hotline and was warned he would be “cutting (his) career short if (he) pursued the issue further.” Instead, he went to the press and made his homeland security concerns public. In 2006, MacLean was fired. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] At Least Somebody Had a Good Week

“Seven days passed since the president used primetime to warn the nation of the gravity of all this. And those seven days have been an extremely good week for ISIL, because it is now clear that under no circumstances will there be troops from the United States — or anyone else.”

The Corner


How To Summarize 2014 News To Someone Who Wants to Sound Like They’re In The Loop

OPTICS-GROUND

Obama Orders Boots on the Ground!

Of Optics and Objectivity: How Journalism Is Failing

The Pleasant Fiction of “No Boots on the Ground”

Obama: ‘I Should’ve Anticipated The Optics’ Of Golfing

Boots on the Ground, But Whose?

Rice case ‘all about bad optics’

Carney Defends Obama: Not ‘Focused on the Optics

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The New Presidential Optics

Boots on the ground: Obama sending “small number” of

Obama Regrets ‘Optics,’ But Not the Golf, After Beheading

In place of ‘boots on the ground,’ US seeks contractors..

Was Obama’s Golf Outing Just an Issue of Optics?

The Obama administration must put boots on the ground 

When Boots on the Ground Aren’t ‘Boots on the Ground’

Obama Considering Boots on the Ground in Iraq

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ron Johnson: Obama’s ISIS Strategy Like Becoming a Bee Farmer, or Something

 “If the objective is to destroy ISIS, I don’t think we have a strategy in place that will accomplish that goal…I’m just concerned about poking that hornet’s nest with a stick for three years.”

Republican Senator Ron Johnson is concerned about blowback from America’s limited air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — if the U.S. fails to destroy the group entirely, President Obama’s plan to intervene will be just like poking a hornet’s nest with a stick, he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Secretary General of NATO on the Dual Threats

Pro-Russia rebels in Krasnodon in eastern Ukraine, Aug. 17. Associated Press

The Islamic State and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are enemies of liberty, democracy and the rule of law

Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes: The abhorrent beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker shocked the world. So did the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The deaths of these innocents show the global consequences of two major crises on Europe’s doorstep: the advance of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group across Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The peace and security we enjoy in Europe and North America are under threat like never before.

These challenges will last for years, and we need to face that reality.

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With Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has tried long and hard to build a partnership that respects Russia’s security concerns and is based on international rules and norms. Regrettably, Russia has rejected our efforts to engage. Russia has trampled on all the rules and commitments that have kept peace in Europe and beyond since the end of the Cold War. It is now clear that Russia regards the West as an adversary, not a partner.

The terrorist threat is now growing in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State terrorists are fueling the fire of sectarianism already burning across the Middle East and North Africa, with the risk rising that terror will be exported back to our shores. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kerry’s Rendezvous with Reality: ‘Okay, We Can Call It ‘War’ if You Want’

Just Don’t Expect us to try To Win it or Anything

From The Corner, Katherine Connell has this: Secretary of State John Kerry reluctantly got on board with the Obama administration’s message that we are at war, in a sense, with the Islamic State.

“There’s frankly a kind of tortured debate going on about terminology.”

In an interview that aired this morning on CBS’s Face the Nation, Kerry addressed the fact that his rejection of the term to describe the U.S. action against the Islamic State was at odds with subsequent statements from the administration.

if you want to use it, yes we’re at war with ISIL in that sense…But I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-ISISism on the Left

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PRIMAI’ve been trying to read as much as time allows of the left’s reaction to the President’s recent speech in which he unleashed at least a couple of the dogs of war. Here’s something from this morning’s sampling:

As for the the Hof article linked above, one of the things it shares with most discussion of the issues in leftish sources is a focus on state politics and an almost complete lack of discussion of the religious and other cultural elements of the ISIS phenomenon. This particular article lays the blame on the structural problem of “state failure”. I would reply that we’ve had chronically failed states in, for example, Latin America for 150 years, yet none of them have become the seedbed for global terrorism. The same could be said for Southeast Asia and, until recently, central and west Africa. I think the unwillingness of analysts on the left to see the uniquely Islamic elements of the ISIS phenomenon hobbles their ability to fully come to terms with it. Whoda thunk that I’d be on the same side of things as Bill Maher? What a world we live in, huh?

ISIS Video Claims Third Beheading

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David Haines Murdered by Islamic Death Cult

BAGHDAD —The Islamic State militant group released a video late Saturday that it said showed the beheading of David Haines, a British aid worker.

“The United States vows to avenge strongly condemns the act of pure evil barbaric murder of U.K. citizen David Haines by Islamic Muslim the terrorist group ISIL.”

– U.S. President Barack Obama

Islamic State militants had previously released videos showing the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

“This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil.”

– U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron

The video released Saturday showed what a masked person said was Mr. Haines’s beheading before proposing that Alan Henning, another Briton, might face the same fate if British forces didn’t stop their aggression against the militant group. Read the rest of this entry »


Ongoing Anti-Terror Non-War Plan Unveiled

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REWIND: NY Times Op-Ed: ‘My Plan for Iraq’, by Senator Barack Obama, July 2008

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CHICAGO — Senator Barack Obama writes: The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

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The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: White House Reverses Course, Says U.S. IS at War with ISIL

“…I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL..”

From The CornerBrendan Bordelon: It looks as though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was on-message Friday when he contradicted secretary of state John Kerry by saying ”we are at war” with the Islamic State, since White House press secretary Josh Earnest echoed his remarks almost word-for-word just minutes later.

 “…in the same way that we’re at war with al-Qaeda and its al-Qaeda affiliates all around the globe.”

On Friday afternoon, CNN reporter Michelle Kosinski pressed Earnest on whether the conflict really was a war, however much the Obama administration might wish otherwise.  Read the rest of this entry »


Women Fightin’ Islamic Gangstas

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Photo by Mohammed A. Salih

Guerrillas from Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party are on the front lines in northern Iraq. Half of the organization’s leaders, including 24-year-old Avesta, are women.

MAKHMOUR, Iraq — Mohmmed A. Salih reports: Avesta enters the cramped room in a teachers’ residence turned temporary military base, ready for a meeting with her fellow fighters. The six commandos rise to shake her hand. She greets each individually. “Hello, heval,” she says, calling them by the Kurdish word for comrade. Then she lays down her Russian sniper rifle, and tea and coffee are served.

“Avesta attended an intense boot camp where she was immersed in the party’s revolutionary leftist ideology and view of women’s role in society, and trained to use weapons.”

The Islamic State’s fearsome fighters are just around 10 miles away, but the Kurdish snipers, some still teenagers, are mostly relaxed. They debate the merits of drinking coffee versus tea, discuss the situation in the camp, and joke with each other. “You are very photogenic,” one of the fighters tells Avesta cheerfully as she poses for a photo. She smiles shyly as others burst into laughter.

“The organization’s rules prohibit romantic relationships, and the fighters have little access to their families.”

Avesta is only 24, but she looks much older, with piercing gray eyes. Her long face is wrinkled and roughened; her hands are calloused. Her sniper rifle is at her side at all times; when it isn’t hanging from her back, it’s resting within arm’s reach — a constant companion to her uncertain life as a Kurdish guerrilla. Read the rest of this entry »


The Genocide of Mideastern Christians

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Americans haven’t suddenly turned interventionist. They’re moved by the Islamic State’s particular evil.

Peggy Noonan writes: President Obama would have been rocked the past few months by five things. One is the building criticism from left and right about his high need for relaxation—playing golf while the world burns. Another is that he misread the significance and public power of the beheadings of American journalists. Third, he has been way out of sync with American public opinion on Islamic State, which must be all the more galling because he thought he knew where Americans stood on the use of military force. Fourth, with his poll numbers declining (32% approval for his handling of foreign policy, according to The Wall Street Journal and NBC), it has probably occurred to him that he is damaging not only his own but his party’s brand in foreign affairs. (Yes, George W. Bush did the same to his party, but Mr. Obama was supposed to reverse, not follow, that trend.) Fifth, he surely expects he is about to take a pounding from the antiwar left.

“Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics who would normally back strong military action were relatively silent in 2013. Why? I think because they were becoming broadly aware, for the first time, of what was happening to Christians in the Middle East.”

Most immediately interesting to me is the apparent change of mind by Americans toward military action in the Mideast. The president’s long-reigning assumption is that a war-weary public has grown more isolationist. But, again according to the WSJ/NBC poll, more than 6 in 10 back moving militarily against Islamic State. Politicians and pundits believe that this is due to the gruesome, public and taunting murders of the U.S. journalists—that Americans saw the pictures and freaked out, that their backing of force is merely emotional.

I think they’re missing a big aspect of this story. Read the rest of this entry »


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