Leading from behind will lose us Iraq

**Posted by Phineas

This is potentially very bad:

After a week of violence in Iraq in which more than 170 Iraqis, including tribesmen, soldiers, and policemen have been killed in clashes during Sunni protests in Salahuddin province, the Awakening is preparing to take up arms against the Iraqi government. On April 24, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, the head of the Awakening, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that “from Fallujah to Al Qaim” the tribes are coordinating and “united” to battle the government if need be.

For those who don’t recall, the “Anbar Awakening” was an alliance of mostly Sunni tribes in western Iraq, which aligned itself with the US military starting around 2006 after having had enough of the atrocities committed against them by al Qaeda in Iraq. (1) To say they were crucial to our victory during the surge would be no less than the truth.  Without the Awakening, we don’t benefit from pacified areas that allow us to concentrate against al Qaeda and the Shiite militias, and we don’t have the eyes and ears of locals who know the situation on the ground far better than we do.

In return, we acted as interlocutors between the local tribes and the new, mostly Shiite national government, mediating the frictions caused by, literally, centuries of bad blood between the two sects. In the politics of Iraq, our military was essential to keeping the peace the surge won, not just because of our military power, but because we were the only group both sides trusted. If an American officer said something would get done, it would get done — and done honestly. It is almost impossible to put a value on the worth of that trust.

But now, with the Americans gone after Obama’s half-hearted, bungling efforts to negotiate a status of forces agreement, all that is in danger of falling apart as the groups revert to old habits and the Syrian civil war draws them in:

Without military forces in country, the US has been unable to support the Iraqi government in its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda in Iraq, or to serve as a buffer and broker between Iraq’s ethnic groups. The US has also diplomatically abandoned the Sunni tribes in Anbar and other provinces, despite promises to remain engaged with the Awakening after the pivotal alliance that drastically improved Iraq’s security from 2006 to 2008.

(…)

Without US forces, al Qaeda in Iraq gained the time and space to regroup and rebuild, and has established a potent fighting force inside Syria as the Al Nusrah Front (al Qaeda’s affiliate there). Continued access to the tribes would have pressed the advantage against a previously decimated al Qaeda in Iraq and could have given the US a foothold to support non-Salafi jihadist rebels inside Syria as well (the tribes in western Iraq extend into Syria).

I said when we liberated Iraq that we had to be prepared to be there for 50 years, using our soldiers and our diplomacy as a shield while Iraq developed the habits of constitutional government and a healthy civil society, much like we did with South Korea. It wasn’t guaranteed to work, but I believe it had a good chance. Now we may never know, however, for if the tribes do revolt and the Syrian civil war does spread into Iraq –with inevitable Iranian involvement– then Barack Obama’s “Diffidence Doctrine” will have succeeded in taking all the blood and treasure we spent there and flushing it down a toilet.

Excuse me while I go find a wall to bang my head against.

Footnote:
(1) Such as killing their children, then hiding explosives under the bodies so the parents would be killed when they tried to recover their children’s corpses. If any group ever needed killing…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Are State Dept and CIA officials being threatened over upcoming #Benghazi testimony?

Disturbing – via  Fox News’ James Rosen:

At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.

Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.

“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”

Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to the attack, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded, and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials incorrectly described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.

“It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

Shocked? Don’t be.  We all know how officials who Displease The One – or portray him in a negative light – get treated in this administration.   And on an issue as serious as Benghazi, the stakes are higher for whistle-blowers in this administration than they ever have been before. Please pray for them.

This just in: Global Warming will turn women into prostitutes

**Posted by Phineas

Because there is nothing the Evil Demon of Climate Change cannot do! So speaketh Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of (I’m sorry to say) California (1) :

Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival.

The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.

“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.

Climate change could also add “workload and stresses” on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.

The Demon Climate Change will also bring an increased risk of war and refugee migration, according to Lee’s resolution. Really, in the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming, this thing is more powerful than the Four Horsemen combined. No wonder they’re screaming “DOOM!!” at the top of their lungs.

Well, that and the fact that they lust after the tax money and power all the new anti-global warming regulations and legislation will give them. A “crisis” like this is just made for a statism-on-steroids solution.

But I’m just a cynic.

And Barbara Lee is an idiot.

But take a look at what she’s pushing: fear, not facts. Coulds, maybes, mights, but no science. This is what you do when the science is increasingly not on your side –for example, the troublesome fact that there has been no statistically significant warming since the mid-90s– you have to resort to scare tactics and various forms of baiting and then plead a crisis. This is all the Left has (in this case, Watermelons, the environmental Left), whether it’s climate change, the right to bear arms, or economics.

“Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams, which is why the Left tries desperately to ignore them.

via Moe Lane

Footnote:
(1) However she was duly elected, so she arguably represents the views of California CD-32, which, you’ll be shocked to read, includes Berkeley.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Cronyism continued: Obama to name CLT Mayor Foxx to top transportation post

Via ABC News:

President Obama will nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new Transportation secretary on Monday, a White House official said.

Foxx, who has served as mayor of Charlotte since 2009, has overseen several major infrastructure initiatives in the city and rose to prominence after bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte last year.

“[Has] overseen several major infrastructure initiatives in the city”? LOL. Nice to see ABC, along with other national mainstream media outlets, embellish the out-going Mayor’s “transportation creds” – no doubt with a lot of help from the White House’s talking points. In reality, the story is much murkier:

Federal officials cited his efforts to bring a streetcar line through the center of the city, expand Charlotte Douglas International Airport and extend the city’s light-rail system north to UNC Charlotte.

On two of those fronts, however, Foxx faces serious challenges to his leadership.

The mayor is fighting an effort to shift control of Charlotte Douglas from the city to an independent authority – a move Foxx has vocally opposed. Local business leaders and some legislators have said the city is meddling in airport affairs, a charge Foxx denies.

The streetcar project, which Foxx is launching with a $25 million federal grant, is in limbo. The mayor has been unable to convince City Council members to approve expanding the 1.5-mile line under construction. Also the streetcar has been the cause of a nearly yearlong fight that has delayed passage of the almost $1 billion capital budget.

“Leadership”? Hmm. Using that word in relationship to the mayor is – shall we say “charitable”? What this is about, in a nutshell, are two things: Cronyism – pay back for Foxx’s work on the Democrat National Convention that was here in Charlotte last year, and “diversity”, as Obama has come under criticism from the likes of the CBC for an alleged “lack of diversity” in his 2nd term cabinet. As the Charlotte Observer notes here in an article about how prominent politicos across the state already have their hands out asking for money from the soon to be Transportation Sec, experience for a post such as this one hasn’t historically been a requirement:

Cabinet posts are political appointments, so experience often takes a back seat to connections and loyalty to the president and his agenda.

The last DOT secretary with N.C, ties – Elizabeth Dole, who served under President Ronald Reagan – had little transportation experience. But she helped make air bags and mandatory seat belt use the norm in American life.

If his appointment is approved, Foxx would be relatively inexperienced compared with recent secretaries who have served under presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton.

James Burnley served as transportation secretary under President Reagan from 1987 to 1989. Before being nominated to the top job, he had worked as Deputy Transportation Secretary for four years.

“It helped enormously,” Burnley said of his four years working at the department before being nominated as secretary. “It would be true in any cabinet department. If you have lasted that long, you have figured a lot out.”

But Burnley said “there is no template for the job.”

“Having people from diverse backgrounds is very healthy,” Burnley said. “People who have been mayors have experience by definition.”

Foxx’s resume would be similar to two prior secretaries, both of them also Democrats. Federico Peña. who was the first transportation secretary under President Bill Clinton, had been mayor of Denver. Neil Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland, Ore., when Jimmy Carter tapped him for transportation secretary in 1979.

In other words, move along here, nothing to see. / sarc

I have no issues with anyone in any line of work moving up career-wise. In fact, that’s the reason most of us work our fannies off every day. We want to move up in the world, make a difference, and provide a better life for our families. But, when a person has done little to nothing to earn the “promotion” other than to scratch the back of the big man in charge I don’t see any reason to celebrate it. Especially when it comes to elected officials and how craftily they move up the government ladder of “success.”

In any event, the official announcement from the President himself will be at around 2:10 pm ET today, according to WH officials. Charlotte-area peeps who are jumping for joy over the fact that “one of us” will be headed to DC as the head of an important federal cabinet should refresh their memories on how nice they thought it was when they voted (twice) for Obama that America was going to get an “agent of change” in the White House who supposedly didn’t play the usual DC political games – including engaging in cronyism. And for those who say they no longer care, that “all Presidents do this”, I’ve got one word for ya: Hypocrites.