Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during President Obama's tenure, went on the Kelly File last night to talk about the possible manipulation of ISIS intelligence. He said the investigation should "start at the top. Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House."
"[M]any of them have been deployed for many years in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere... so I think that the focus of really this investigation, they'll find whoever they're going to find and some of the tactical issues at central command, but the focus of this investigation ought to start at the top. Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House. The president sets the priorities and he's the number one customer. So if he's not getting the intelligence he needs and if he's not paying attention to what else is going on, then something else is wrong there between them and the advisers he has."
A new ad from the Republican National Committee goes after Democrats on foreign policy. The ad--titled "Can Leaders Like These Keep Us Safe?"--includes voiceovers from Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and John Kerry.
In the ad, the RNC plays a clip of Clinton saying the fight against ISIS "cannot be an American fight," and avoiding use of the term "radical Islam." President Obama says ISIS isn't gaining strength.
The ad ends with the question, "Can leaders like these keep us safe?"
President Barack Obama is beginning to use tougher rhetoric when discussing ISIS. The leader of the free world, today at a press conference at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, vowed to destory ISIS and to take the land they are currently occupying.
Secretary of State John Kerry believes that al Qaeda’s “top leadership” has been “neutralize[d]” as “an effective force.” He made the claim while discussing the administration’s strategy, or lack thereof, for combating the Islamic State (ISIS), which is al Qaeda’s jihadist rival. Kerry believes that the U.S. and its allies can finish off ISIS quicker than al Qaeda. There’s just one problem: It is not true that al Qaeda or its top leaders have been “neutralize[d].”
It would be an interesting exercise to trace the history of the word sanctimony. In its original derivation from the Latin sanctimonia, it seems to have had the straightforward sense of sanctity or sacredness. But centuries ago, it took on its current meaning—of pretended or affected or hypocritical holiness. Already in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure Lucio remarks on “the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped one out of the table”—i.e., that thou shalt not steal.
One of the most durable arguments for not responding as forcefully as possible to al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and jihadi groups in general is that they do not pose an “existential” threat to America. Indeed, this lies at the core of the Obama administration’s strategy for the Middle East. As the president told
Bernard-Henri Lévy has written an intelligent and forceful, if somewhat grandiloquent, piece on Paris and its implications. Highlights:
So it’s war.
A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the non-territorial model of al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Islamic State has returned.
Like the Bourbons, Barack Obama and his national security advisers have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They have not forgotten that they were first elected in 2008 to “end” Middle East wars, and the administration’s response to the attacks in Paris last week reveals that they have yet to learn any different.
At the end of World War II, a gifted young British expert on Russia named Thomas Brimelow—later ambassador to Poland, but at the time reporting from Moscow—ventured that what the Soviet Union respected most about Great Britain was “our ability to collect friends.” Indeed, having allies in this world matters if you want to advance your agenda. Of the many things a new American president will need to do in 2017, one is to begin repairing America’s relations with our key allies. Start with the United Kingdom.
The Dayton accords, formally signed in December 1995, have reached their twentieth anniversary. Dayton is commonly portrayed as a “peace agreement” for war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina and an outstanding achievement of Bill Clinton’s administration. The accords were an achievement; the war ended. Yet close scrutiny reveals a shabby aftermath.
Democratic senator Tim Kaine admitted this morning on national TV that the U.S. has no strategy in Syria:
"The problem is, we don't have a comprehensive strategy," said Senator Kaine.
Kaine went on to blame Congress for the lack of strategy. "It's time to really have a strategy between Congress and the president. And that involved Congress being wiling to engage. And Congress hasn't been welling to do that."
Before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, my friend Ahmad Chalabi would often carry fat tomes about America’s occupations of Germany and Japan. An Iraqi exile after 1958 who lived mainly in London and Georgetown and maintained an off-and-on, love-hate relationship with Western intelligence agencies, he was blessed with a voracious, curious, and sensitive mind. He had a prodigious memory, too, and was well-schooled beyond mathematics, in which he held a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. But knowledge ultimately failed Chalabi.
The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul (R., TX), is trying to get the White House to pay attention to what Iran is doing around the Middle East. Earlier in the week, McCaul wrote a letter to Obama arguing that the clerical regime “has demonstrated hostility towards the United States and our allies through a series of increasingly provocative actions.”