The Kobane victory and the hard work Obama is unwilling to do

ISIS apparently has been defeated in the town of Kobane, Syria to which it laid siege months ago. The Obama administration hopes that this defeat will discourage potential recruits from joining ISIS. According to a senior State Department spokesman, the lesson for those considering enlistment is:

You’re not going to be a part of something great, you’re not going to have a house, you’re not going to have a female slave. If you’re an 18 year old disaffected guy looking for adventure. . .what was glory and conquest is now hundreds of bodies in he the streets of Kobane.

This is a rare instance of sound foreign policy/defense thinking by the administration. The leftist theme of the Bush era — U.S. military intervention helps enemy recruiting — seemingly has been abandoned. You set back enemy recruiting by setting back the enemy on the battlefield. It has ever been thus.

But there’s a fallacy in Team Obama’s triumphalist thinking. We aren’t doing well enough against ISIS to expect its recruitment to suffer materially.

As the editors of the Washington Post contend, preventing the fall of one border hamlet, though a welcome development, should not be viewed as a turning point. ISIS still controls vast amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq. And in Syria, the Post points out, ISIS “faces little pressure from Western airstrikes and is growing stronger rather than weaker.”

If you join ISIS, you can still hope to have that home and the female slave.

According to the Post, 75 percent of our bombing missions in Syria were directed at relieving Kobane. In theory, this might mean that, with ISIS turned back there, our bombing campaign against ISIS in other areas of Syria will become far more robust.

In practice, we shouldn’t count on it. Kobane had received a large amount of media attention. Accordingly, Obama probably figured he needed to throw significant U.S. resources into that fight. In other parts of Syria, not so much.

Anyway, bombing won’t be enough to defeat ISIS in its Syrian strongholds. Foot soldiers are required.

The Kurds provided them in Kobane, but elsewhere we need the Syrian rebel force Obama has talked about training. Yet that training effort is proceeding at “a snail’s pace,” to use the Post’s description. CIA assistance to rebel groups has been so limited that many fighters have defected to more militant Sunni groups including al Qaeda and ISIS, according to the Post.

It’s almost as if Obama doesn’t really want to help Syrian rebels, lest he upset the clerics in Iran who are propping up the Assad regime. This, indeed, is the Post’s conclusion. The editors write:

Mr. Obama has convinced himself that it’s not possible or desirable to create a Syrian force that could defeat the regime of Bashar al-Assad. . . .The adminstration appears to believe that Iran’s cooperation in Syria will flow from a hoped-for deal on its nuclear program — and conversely, that no action can be taken in Syria that might upset Tehran before such a deal is struck.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has strongly rejected cooperation with the United States on regional security. Nor will traditional U.S. allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, consent to a new Syrian order sponsored by Iran.

Obama, by contrast, seems prepared to consent to just about anything Iran wants — Israel, the Saudis, the lives of tens of thousands of Syrians, and the fight against ISIS be damned.

Is the Obama Administration Funding Opposition to Netanyahu?

We wrote here and here about the fact that the Obama administration is actively working to defeat Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu in that country’s upcoming election. Obama’s national field director, Jeremy Bird, has traveled to Israel to organize the opposition to Netanyahu. He is working in conjunction for the foreign-funded organization “One Voice,” which is leading the campaign to unseat Netanyahu and elect a leftist government.

That One Voice collaborates with Barack Obama’s State Department is no secret. The U.S. Department of State is listed as a “partner” of One Voice on that organization’s web site, along with Britain’s Labour and Conservative Parties, Harvard University, Google, the Association of British Muslims, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and others.

Today Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Lee Zeldin wrote to John Kerry, asking whether American taxpayer dollars are going toward the effort to unseat Israel’s government:

20150129 Letter to Secretary Kerry

As the letter notes, One Voice has received two cash grants from the Obama State Department in 2014. Cruz and Zeldin make a number of very reasonable requests for information from the State Department, but they’ll never get it. There is only one play in the Obama playbook: stonewall.

In the meantime, Obama says it would be “inappropriate” to meet with Netanyahu when the Prime Minister is in the U.S. in March, given the proximity of the Israeli election–an election that Obama is trying to sway toward Netanyahu’s opponents. The man deserves a place in the hypocrisy hall of fame.

The Number One Mystery of Deflate-gate

Is Deflate-gate the dumbest story in the history of sports, or what? I suppose it is remotely possible that someone associated with the Patriots might have deflated some footballs, or perhaps it was sabotage by the Colts–after all, the Patriots played much better after halftime when the balls were re-inflated. But speculation about such skulduggery is hardly necessary.

The NFL has been closemouthed about the facts its investigation has revealed so far, but according to NBC’s Pro Football Talk, the underinflation was minimal:

As one league source has explained it to PFT, the football intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was roughly two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. The other 10 balls that reportedly were two pounds under may have been, as the source explained it, closer to one pound below 12.5 PSI.

If you inflate a ball to 12.5 psi at 69 degrees and let it cool to 50 degrees, the outdoor temperature at game time, it will lose a pound of pressure:

Recent news reports reveal that the balls used by the Patriots were not under inflated by 2 psi but only by about 1 psi. The only ball with a 2 psi drop was the one handled by the Colts!!

Repeating the calculations above using a 1 psi loss results in an initial temperature of 69F and not 91F. A locker-room temperature of 69F seems well within normal range. No additional pressure loss due to humid air is necessary.

Additionally, the written report by HeadSmart™Labs on their ACTUAL testing of 12 footballs indicated an average pressure loss of 1.1 psi due to the inside/outside temperature differential alone and another pressure loss of 0.7 psi due to the wetting of the balls. Natural conditions alone explain “deflategate.”

It probably happens all the time that balls inflated to 12.5 psi are more like 11 or 11.5 psi under playing conditions, but no one ever tests them. Until now.

As Deflate-gate has spun out of control, the most hilarious development has been the identification of a “person of interest”–a man on the Patriots’ equipment staff who carried two bags, each containing a dozen balls, after they had been tested by the referees, to the playing field. Surveillance video–I’m not making this up–shows that on his way to his destination, he ducked into a men’s room, from which he emerged 90 seconds later.

The internet went into a tizzy. Is 90 seconds enough to deflate 12 footballs?

So a man enters a bathroom, closes the door, and comes out a minute and a half later. Hmm. Ted Wells, give me a call. I think I can solve the mystery.

As we have said before on much more serious occasions, we live in a world gone mad.

John McCain Speaks For Me On CodePink

This morning the Senate Armed Services Committee conducted a hearing at which Henry Kissinger was a witness. When Kissinger entered the committee chamber, a ragtag group of ten or so CodePink members stood up, holding signs and chanting “Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes.” One of them dangled a pair of handcuffs. The demonstrators were virtually standing over Kissinger, as for some reason the Capitol Police were absent or were slow to act.

John McCain was presiding over the hearing. When the disturbance died down, he let the CodePink miscreants have it with both barrels. “Low-life scum” is, in my view, a fair assessment of their character:

This persecution of Kissinger has been going on for decades. It has something to do with Vietnam, apparently. Quite a few years ago, Kissinger spoke at the Annual Dinner of the Center of the American Experiment here in Minneapolis. I was astonished, even then, to see a little group of “war crimes” protesters show up in front of the venue. How long can these leftists continue to hate? Forever, seemingly.

On this one, John McCain deserves the thanks of civilized people everywhere. Well done, Senator McCain!

Thank you for that non-answer, nominee

As I watched Loretta Lynch’s testimony yesterday, I had the feeling I had seen this act before. Her approach to answering questions, her tone, and some of her word choices left me with a strong sense of deja vu.

Only in the evening did I realize where I had seen Lynch’s act. It was during the confirmation hearing of Cornelia Pillard, now a judge on the D.C. Circuit.

Like Pillard, when a Republican Senator asked a question, Lynch typically began her answer with “Thank you, Senator.” If the question was at all pointed, both Pillard and Lynch said “Thank you for that question, Senator.”

Usually, they then proceeded not to answer it. However, Pillard, a professor, was somewhat more inclined to answer than Lynch, a litigator.

When Democrats asked a question, the usual practice of Pillard and Lynch was not to thank them. To say “thank you” would confirm that the question was a softball, designed to help the witness. So instead the response usually would begin with something like “Certainly, Senator.”

It seems clear that Pillard and Lynch received the same coaching. And both followed instructions quite well.

Is there anything wrong with this? No. But the point is worth making in the context of Lynch’s confirmation proceedings.

The question before Republican Senators — as one of them after another stated — is whether they can be confident that Lynch will not be another Eric Holder. Lynch expressed no disagreement with any position taken, or practice engaged in, by the Holder DOJ.

Instead, she offered something resembling a tautology. She promised “to be myself.”

But Lynch wasn’t herself during the hearing. Her answers were programmed and generic. She was Cornelia Pillard (and who knows how many other nominees), serving up testimony choreographed by a consultant.

Again, this isn’t problematic unless one accepts the premise — which many Republican Senators espoused and some may even believe — that the Holder Justice Department is beyond the pale. If one accepts that premise, then more should be required of Lynch than a deferential, coached answering style and meaningless “commitments” to uphold the rule of law and to meet with Senators to address their concerns.

What’s required is an acknowledgement that something is wrong at DOJ. Lynch never even hinted that there might be something wrong. Moreover, the evidence strongly suggests that she’s fully on-board with the radical, lawless agenda of Eric Holder, who helped put her in the position to succeed him.

Who knows the real Loretta Lynch better — Eric Holder who smoothed the path for her and President Obama who nominated her, or Republican Senators who know her through her courtesy visit and choreographed testimony?

“Thank you for that question, blogger.” It answers itself.

The Bergdahl decision

Apart from the interest of the Obama administration in preserving appearances, it’s hard to understand how Bowe Bergdahl might not be charged with desertion. President Obama staged a Rose Garden celebration to announce the swap of Bergdahl for hardened terrorist prisoners last year. Susan Rice stepped forward to praise Bergdahl’s service despite the circumstances of his capture and the disgust of his fellow soldiers, but the powerful comments of those fellow soldiers cast dark shadows on the affair.

What now? Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters reviews the relevant facts in the video below; Peters has a few choice words on the possibility that Bergdahl might walk.

Peters comments:

What we have here is very, very clear, it’s damnably clear that the White House which doesn’t understand why this is a big deal. I mean, he just deserted, right?Wouldn’t anybody do that? And they just want to protect the president. And they are pressuring the Army, pressuring the Army to whitewash this. And they don’t understand that for the military, those who went before, retirees like me, those on active duty, this is a powerful matter, as you heard from the young soldier, of precedent and principle.

If you let Bergdahl walk — it’s not about this pathetic little creep, Bergdahl, it’s about the principle — if you let him walk with full pay and benefits and a promotion despite overwhelming evidence that he deserted his post in wartime, you make it virtually impossible to prosecute future deserters. Now, in the Army, I’m sure — the Army’s not perfect. You’ve got some people craven enough and ambitious enough to save to the White House, and I’m sure they are arguing the White House’s point, but so far you’ve got some generals that are showing backbone and saying, no, for the good of the Army, for the good of the military, he has to go through the Article 32 and into court-martial. And the White House is fighting it tooth and nail because they don’t give a damn about our military, they just care about this pathetic Puss in Boots president’s reputation.

Transcript via RCP.

Civil War on the Left, Part 15

While the ruckus over Jon Chait’s critique of PC grinds on (he’s getting a lot more blowback form the Left than from me), I note with amusement another act of Leftist cannibalism taking place over in the UK.

Germaine Greer, no longer germane?

Germaine Greer, no longer germane?

When I was coming of age back in the 1970s, one of the leading feminist intelletuals was Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch. I recall her appearing on Buckley’s Firing Line, and thinking the title of her most famous book was somehow fitting.

Turns out Greer is too old-timey for today’s identity politics Left. A group of students at Cambridge University are running the speaker disinvitation drill for Greer:

CUSU Women’s Officer Amelia Horgan posted the following statement on the Facebook event:

“The CUSU Women’s Campaign would like to express concern over the invitation of Germaine Greer …to speak at the Cambridge Union. Greer’s transphobia has been demonstrated not only in her writing, but also in her actions. In 1996 she publicly opposed the appointment of a trans woman academic to a position within Newnham college, outing her in the process. As such, Greer’s invitation to speak within our University community is all the more worrying – is institutional memory really so terrifyingly limited when it comes to bigotry?

Greer does not represent feminism, and she does not represent us.”

It’s fun watching these folks turn on each other. (Once again, if you have time to visit the link, you’ll see the comment thread is overwhelmingly negative toward the identity politics crowd.)