Terrorism

Netanyahu on 9/11

Featured image Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke yesterday at the 14th annual International Conference on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel. He speaks as both a student of terrorism and a the leader of a country on the front line against the perpetrators of terrorism, so as always his remarks have a special interest. The text is posted here. The video is below. In his introductory remarks, Netanyahu addressed himself to United States Ambassador Dan »

Jihadist Serial Killer? Ho Hum!

Featured image If a jihadist were going around the United States committing random murders, you might think it would be a significant news story. But apparently not: until this morning, I had never heard of Ali Muhammad Brown, a “devout Muslim” who murdered at least four random American men as an act of Islamic jihad. The story has actually been around for a while; this article from a local paper in New »

Obama’s legal justification for asserting the power to attack ISIS: ironic and weak

Featured image President Obama initially justified air strikes against ISIS on the legal theory that, as commander-in-chief, he has a responsibility to protect U.S. citizens and facilities. However, as Eli Lake points out, Obama’s battle against ISIS quickly expanded into an effort to protect Iraqi infrastructure. And now it has expanded into an effort (how serious we don’t know) to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. By what legal theory does Obama justify this »

Gallup: GOP Has Giant Lead on Terrorism

Featured image Opinion is divided on whether 2014 will be a good year for the GOP, or a tsunami. I have inclined toward the former view, mostly because I don’t think Republican candidates have done a good enough job of explaining the ideological basis for the Democrats’ many failures, and why Republicans/conservatives have better ideas. Still, events have a force of their own. Today Gallup finds that Republicans have a stunning 23-point »

Dartmouth’s 9/11

Featured image Following 9/11 the New York Times ran Portraits of Grief profiling many of those lost in the 9/11 attacks. We can’t capture the magnitude of the loss, or the meaning of who and what we lost, but the Times’s focus on individuals made a contribution. Taking just one small slice, I want to retrieve from the series the Times’s portraits of Dartmouth alumni who lost their lives on 9/11. With »

A day to be proud…

Featured image I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) The book is good, not great, but it touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, »

The JV president

Featured image In his interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this past Sunday (transcript here), President Obama responded to a question regarding his notorious characterization of ISIS as the terrorist JV (i.e., junior varsity): CHUCK TODD: Long way, long way from when you described them as a JV team. PRES. OBAMA: Well, I– CHUCK TODD: Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment? PRES. OBAMA: Keep– keep– keep in mind I »

Surviving an ISIS massacre

Featured image The New York Times produced the video below with credits to Mike Shum, Greg Campbell, Adam B. Ellick and Mona El-Naggar earlier this week. They report: “ISIS massacred hundreds of Iraqi military recruits in June. Ali Hussein Kadhim survived. This is his improbable story.” They add the warning: “Includes graphic images.” The related Times story on the events depicted is Tim Arango’s “Escaping death in northern Iraq.” I thought readers »

Tom Cotton’s courage

Featured image Earlier today, Scott quoted from an editorial in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette which contrasted Tom Cotton’s courage to the “go along to get along” mindset of his opponent, Mark Pryor. The editorial stated that, given Tom’s character, “it’s easy to imagine his sticking with principle even if the whole state went crazy again.” Yes it is. Indeed, even though Tom has been in Congress for less than two years, we have »

Is Snowden Helping ISIS?

Featured image In the Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough canvases former security officials on the question whether Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures are now aiding ISIS. The verdict is unanimous: A former top official at the National Security Agency says the Islamic State terrorist group has “clearly” capitalized on the voluminous leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and is exploiting the top-secret disclosures to evade U.S. intelligence. Bottom line: Islamic State killers are »

In another about face, the Republican Party turns hawkish

Featured image The Washington Post observes that the rise of ISIS has caused Republicans to strike a more hawkish tone on foreign policy. The Washington Post is correct. Until very recently, few Republicans found much to criticize in President Obama’s retreat from the Middle East and, indeed, from the world at large. An anti-interventionist mood had made significant headway among Republicans and, indeed, seemed to prevail in the ranks. There were honorable »

Ignoring Hamas crimes

Featured image Khaled Abu Toameh combines his usual invaluable reportage with media criticism in “Big media ignores Hamas’s ‘ugliest crimes.’” As I am sure this will be studiously ignored by Conor Powell, Rick Leventhal and all the rest shouting out coverage live but limited from Gaza, I am taking the liberty of pasting the whole damn thing in below: During the recent war in the Gaza Strip, armed Hamas militias committed the »

Why do they join the jihad?

Featured image It sounds like a complicated question, but Michael Ledeen nails it with six words: because it gives meaning to life. It’s a commonplace to anyone who’s studied the rise of fascism, of which Islamofascism is the most recent variety. The main problem with democratic capitalism is that it’s so successful, and therefore very boring. A generation or two of European intellectuals bemoaned the great triumph of science and industry, which »

Obama: we can make ISIS a “manageable problem” if we “organize the Middle East”

Featured image Yesterday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined several times to say, in response to a direct question from Fox News’ James Rosen, that the U.S. is at war with ISIS. Today, President Obama made it clear enough that, in his view, we aren’t. Obama stated: We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its »

Triumph of the international will

Featured image President Obama held a press conference in Estonia this morning and vowed action to “degrade and destroy” the ascendant terrorist group he insists on calling ISIL (why?), as Justin Sink reports here for The Hill. As you might guess, however, there is a hitch in Obama’s giddy-up involving the “com[ing] together” of the “international community” to render ISIL “a manageable problem” by “shrink[ing] ISIL’s sphere of influence[.]” I see a »

Who Is the JayVee Team?

Featured image You can put a spiffy uniform on a lousy player, and you can swear in a hopeless incompetent as president, but in either case, has a star been born? Michael Ramirez looks at the “jayvee” question from our enemies’ point of view. Suddenly, Obama’s analogy, which was dumb as applied to ISIS, makes sense. Click to enlarge: »

ISIS Beheads Second American Journalist

Featured image ISIS has released a video which it says shows the beheading of American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff. Sotloff was captured in Syria in 2013, and ISIS threatened to kill him in the video showing the beheading of James Foley. Commenting on Sotloff’s murder, an administration spokesman proved a master of understatement: Washington has contacted about two dozen countries for help in freeing the three, but no foreign government appears to »