The attacks on ISIS targets in Syria will do damage. And the enemy may look for ways to retaliate. Troubling news, in that regard comes from Justin Sink who writes in The Hill:
Some of an estimated 100 Americans who have traveled to the Middle East and joined terrorist organizations like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have returned to the United States, a senior administration official said Monday.
And from Mitchell Prothero at McClatchy who reports:
The chief spokesman for the Islamic State has called on the group’s supporters throughout the world to act on their own initiative to attack Western civilian and military targets in retaliation for the U.S.-led coalition’s aerial attacks in Iraq.
It was always going to be a long, asymmetrical war.
On Tuesday, August 19, an American citizen, James Foley, was savagely killed. The group of jihadists known as ISIL had previously killed and brutalized tens of thousands of non-Americans. But they killed Foley because he was an American. They titled the grotesque video of this particular act of barbarism “A message to America.”
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has long been hard for the central government to control because of its combustible mix of Arabs and Kurds. The first time I visited Mosul was in August 2003 when a tenuous calm was maintained by the 101st Airborne Division. Its commander, a then-obscure two-star general named David Petraeus, had on his own initiative opened the Syrian border to trade, struck deals with Syria and Turkey to provide badly needed electricity, restored telephone service, and held elections to elect local leaders.
Several men who served with Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan say Bergdahl deserted in 2009 before being captured by the Taliban. Bergdahl's release this weekend as part of an exchange with the U.S. for five top Taliban operatives who were being held in Guantanamo Bay has prompted those servicemen to speak out. Jake Tapper at CNN reports:
Boko Haram, the militant group responsible for the recent kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria, was not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department until November of 2013 despite a long record of violence. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has now come under fire, as reported by Josh Rogin at the Daily Beast, for resisting calls for the FTO designation for Boko Haram during her tenure at the State Department. Rogin says that "[t]he refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen." But in 2012, even U.S. State Department diplomats in Nigeria seemed mystified about why the government was "reluctant" to issue the designation.
News broke this week that under a plan released by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the United States Army will be reduced to its smallest force since before World War II. Though not directly related to that plan, another announcement this week by the Defense Department gives, perhaps, a taste of what those cuts may look like. Plans are underway for massive cuts to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), the organization that has led military's efforts to combat a weapon of choice among insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. JIEDDO's current staff of 3,000 will be reduced to 1,000 by the end of this fiscal year, and further plans could see the number fall as low as 400 down the road.
The Olympics – ancient and modern divisions – were intended to be celebrations where men laid down their arms and engaged in competitions that did not end with bodies strewn across the landscape. The intentions were noble but the games – especially those of today – were inevitably corrupted by the usual things. Politics, avarice, commercialism, drugs …
The State Department yielded to pressure from a coalition of Seattle and Washington state politicians, community groups, and advocacy organizations and agreed to withdraw at least one ad in the department's Metro bus ad campaign in Seattle promoting the “Rewards for Justice” campaign. The program pays rewards to individuals who provide leads about the location of wanted terrorists.
The names of two terrorists currently "remain" on the Newseum's "Memorial Wall," a letter written by the chief executive officer of the Newseum confirms. The letter is addressed to Warren David, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and signed by CEO James C. Duff.
At one point in The Company You Keep, Robert Redford’s new film about the residue of the Weather Underground, a character named Sharon Solarz is captured by the FBI after living under a series of aliases since her involvement in a Michigan bank robbery decades earlier in which a security guard was killed. Ruminating in her cell, she describes for a young journalist the moral dilemma people like her faced back then. They could either sit by and watch as America destroyed the innocent peasant culture of Vietnam or take arms against atrocity.