The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, says that "ground troops are necessary" to defeat ISIS. "But," Power insisted this morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, "they're not going to be American ground troops."Read more
Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told CNN that ground troops may be required to fight ISIS. "It could be necessary," Hagel said.Read more
Vice President Joe Biden misstated the number of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan by 47,000 at a Veterans Day event today at Arlington National Cemetary. Here's audio of his remarks:Read more
President Obama said that American troops in are "in a war environment" fighting the Islamic State and that the men and women in the military are in "harm's way." He made the comments this evening on 60 Minutes:
"You know, you've said no American boots on the ground, no combat troops on the ground," said 60 Minutes host Steve Kroft. "We've got 1,600 troops there.
"We do," said President Obama.Read more
In a debate on CNN this afternoon between Jay Carney and Bill Kristol, the former White House spokesman conceded that in fact there will be "boots on the ground" fighting the Islamic State.Read more
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.Read more
We're at war. We're putting boots on the ground. We're not waiting around for the host nation's government to get its affairs in order, or for a regional coalition to commit first. The president has apparently overcome his reluctance to use the military, his worries about a commitment to intervene without an exit strategy, and his usual reluctance to acknowledge (even implicitly) that his administration was wrong when it assured us that there was nothing much for us to worry about.Read more
John Kerry argued that it doesn't really make a difference if we call U.S. action against ISIS a "war." He criticized the "tortured debate" this morning on CBS:
"Mr. Secretary, thank you so much," said CBS host Bob Schieffer. "Can I clear up one thing first. This week you went to some lengths to say you wouldn't call this a war, but yet at the Pentagon and at the State Department even they were saying we are at war with ISIS. Are we at war?"Read more
On Wednesday, the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Obama will speak to the American people about his strategy for dealing with the rise of the Islamic State, the would-be caliphate bestriding Iraq and Syria, the most palpable and present threat to the region since Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and, later, Kuwait.Read more
All options are not on the table as President Obama figures out how to deal with the ongoing situation in Iraq. The president promised not to send U.S. troops back "into combat in Iraq."
"We will not be sending U.S. forces back into combat in Iraq but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq's security forces. And I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead," said Obama.Read more
The Obama administration is facing mounting questions about the controversial prisoner swap that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from jihadists in Pakistan in exchange for the transfer and ultimate release of five senior Taliban commanders previously held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Read more
Media reports suggest that President Obama is looking to declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan, as he did from Iraq. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year.Read more
“The fundamental fact that we all have to be aware of is, when we go to war now, we send less than 1 percent of our population to war and they’re all volunteers and many of them are from working-class environments. And in the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nothing was asked of the rest of us. We didn’t pay any additional taxes. We didn’t have to think about those wars if we didn’t have anyone involved. … It’s not just unjust, it’s kind of immoral for a democratic republic to go to war under those terms because those young men and women and their families are paying the high price. They’re coming home emotionally damaged or physically damaged or, too often, in body bags. And we’ve got to have a national consciousness about that.”Read more
At a ceremony marking Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, President Barack Obama said that most Americans are able to remain unaffected by war.Read more
On this Memorial Day, as on others, every American will turn to his own thoughts and prayers, and recall his own favorite speeches, music, and poetry. Memorial Day has no one dominant "text." But for those who aren't familiar with it, I recommend Theodore O'Hara's poem, "Bivouac of the Dead," written in 1847 in memory of Kentucky troops killed in the Mexican War. Various lines are inscribed at different places in Arlington Cemetery, including at the McClellan Gate. It's not, I suppose, great poetry, but I've always found it moving.Read more
Nancy Pelosi indicated she would be visiting troops this weekend but for sequestration:Read more
White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked at today's press briefing, in the context of the Boston bombings, whether U.S. bombings in Afghanistan last month that killed civilians were "terrorism." Carney gave a long answer, but never says "no."Read more
President Barack Obama gave a shout out last night at an Inaugural ball to our "comrades in arms" in Afghanistan. After hearing from troops in Afghanistan through a video a satellite, the commander in chief said, "Read more
At a campaign rally for President Barack Obama yesterday in Virginia, former President Bill Clinton talked about bringing "this country together" and crossing "all of its diversity." Then, Clinton added this:Read more
One of the minor disgraces of this year's campaign is that the presidential candidates act as if the war in Afghanistan doesn't exist. We have 84,000 troops fighting over there in very difficult circumstances; they've had a tough few weeks, with 41 killed in the last month, but the candidates barnstorm the country with barely a mention of the war or the troops.Read more
As customers flock to Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country today to support the company, a talk radio listener shared an idea to extend the demonstration. From Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families:Read more
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