Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
We don’t expect much. It’s been nearly six years. We’re long past the point of hoping that Barack Obama will adopt policies that deserve our grudging approval, if not enthusiastic endorsement, particularly on foreign policy and national security.
But we do expect something.
We believe that the president, whatever his ideological disposition, ought to be an unapologetic defender of America when she is smeared or slandered. At a bare minimum, a president ought not lend credence to those who disparage the United States for imagined offenses.
This is apparently too high a standard for Barack Obama.
As Thomas Joscelyn reports elsewhere in these pages, two days before the United States transferred six Guantánamo detainees to Uruguay, President José Mujica released a statement denouncing the United States. “We have offered our hospitality for humans suffering a heinous kidnapping in Guantánamo,” it read. Because of their suffering, the detainees—all with direct ties to al Qaeda leadership—were accepted by Uruguay for “humanitarian” reasons and given refugee status.
A subsequent Defense Department statement about the transfer said nothing about these outrageous claims and simply thanked Uruguay for taking in the detainees. Did we miss the administration’s reaction to Mujica’s comments? Did the administration miss the comments? We asked the White House if the U.S. government had responded to Mujica’s statement or pushed back against it in any way. And if not, does the administration believe that Mujica’s comments are a fair characterization of how the al Qaeda members came to be detained at Guantánamo?
Patrick Ventrell, spokesman for the National Security Council, gave us this response:
We are grateful to President Mujica and Uruguay for providing to these individuals an opportunity to start anew their lives in Uruguay and to become contributing members of the Uruguayan society. However, we must refer you to the government of Uruguay for more information related to President Mujica’s comments.
There was nothing at all from the White House disputing Mujica’s calumny about a “heinous kidnapping,” no protest of the suggestion that al Qaeda operatives need “humanitarian” relief from the United States, and not a word in defense of the U.S. military and intelligence officials who risked their lives to help bring these dangerous terrorists into U.S. custody.
It’s not just what the White House refused to say, but what it said. The administration went out of its way to articulate a belief that the freed al Qaeda terrorists—five of whom were classified as “high risk” detainees by Joint Task Force-Guantánamo—may well become productive members of society.
Critics have long complained that the Obama administration mistreats our allies and coddles our enemies. There are exceptions, of course, but does anyone seriously dispute that general tendency? In just the past few months:
They weren’t kidnapped. They’re not refugees.Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Sunday, December 7, a U.S. military medical aircraft landed in South America, to deliver six jihadists from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay to Uruguay. For more than a dozen years, these six men had been held as dangerous enemies of the United States. Suddenly, Uruguay treated them as refugees, even victims, and the Obama administration didn’t object.
President on death of Luke Somers, held hostage by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.7:36 AM, Dec 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama issued this statement after the death of photojournalist Luke Somers, who was held hostage in Yemen by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was killed in a rescue attempt.
No mention of 'Innocence of Muslims' Internet video in indictment of Benghazi suspect.5:05 PM, Oct 16, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Justice Department has released a new, superseding indictment in the government’s case against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the only suspect held by the U.S. in connection with the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
12:12 PM, Oct 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Lost in the excitement over ISIS, the battle for Khobani, and the possible threat to Baghdad is news of the nation’s longest war, the one in Afghanistan, which the President once called a “war of necessity.”
So it's not decimated?12:01 PM, Oct 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Visiting Canada for the first time as Department Homeland Security (DHS) chief, secretary Jeh Johnson addressed the Canadian American Business Council on Wednesday.
... and India is the newest threat.4:40 PM, Sep 30, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with frequent contributor Thomas Joscelyn discussing his recent piece on "Misunderstanding al Qaeda" and how its growth is becoming a threatening success.
After the bin Laden raid, the deluge.Oct 6, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 04 • By MAX BOOT
Last week brought a reminder of what the United States has lost since Bob Gates and Leon Panetta left the Obama cabinet. Both are straight shooters with a centrist, hardheaded sensibility.
Panetta has been making headlines with his criticism of Obama on 60 Minutes for pulling out of Iraq too soon (“I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq”) and not doing more early on to aid the Syrian opposition (“we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS”).
The threat remains—and spreads.Oct 6, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 04 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Tuesday, September 23, the U.S. government announced that a new bombing campaign was under way in Syria. The Obama administration had been building the case for airstrikes for weeks. The president and his surrogates repeatedly highlighted the threat posed by the Islamic State (often called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL), which has captured large swaths of territory across Iraq and Syria.
12:05 PM, Sep 23, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria for the first time overnight. Much of the public discourse in the weeks leading up to the bombings focused on the Islamic State, a former branch of al Qaeda that has captured a significant amount territory across both Iraq and Syria. But the bombings are not just intended to weaken the Islamic State. U.S. bombers are also targeting positions controlled by Jabhat al Nusrah, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
ISIS Strategy Unrealistic.7:29 AM, Sep 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Robert Gates, President Obama's first defense secretary, said this morning on CBS that President Obama's strategy for defeating the Islamic State is unrealistic:
"The reality is, they're not going to be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their own," said Gates.
12:02 AM, Sep 11, 2014 • By KATHERINE ZIMMERMAN
In an address Wednesday night to the nation, President Obama held up America’s strategy in Yemen as a model for the counterterrorism strategy he intends to pursue in Iraq and Syria. By doing so, he committed to a strategy of targeting terrorists from the air and supporting local security forces in their counterterrorism fight.
11:41 AM, Sep 10, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
President Obama is set to discuss his plan for confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a primetime speech this evening. According to press reports, the president is ready to authorize the use of military strikes against the group in Syria. Thus far, American military action has been limited to neighboring Iraq. This is a step in the right direction by Obama. As the administration recognizes, the U.S. and its allies cannot take the fight to ISIL without targeting its substantive strongholds in Syria.
Sep 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 01 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Barack Obama’s foreign policy is in shambles. He had a dream, expressed in Cairo, of “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world,” of “a world where extremists no longer threaten our people.” So he got out of Iraq and failed to follow through in Libya, seeing no need for American boots on the ground in such a brave new world. He wanted to reset relations with Russia, expecting reciprocal behavior from Vladimir Putin. He indulged the hope that talking about a pivot to Asia would make it so.
3:08 PM, Aug 25, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Earlier today, the news broke that Peter Theo Curtis, an American who had been held hostage in Syria since 2012, has been released by his captors. Coming just days after another American hostage, James Foley, was brutally beheaded by the Islamic State, Curtis’s freedom brings a sense of relief.