Friday August 22nd, 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metcalf

Updated 1254 PDT                               
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World & National

Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'
              U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, August 21, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday.

"They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.

Hagel's assessment of Islamic State, which gained strength during Syria's civil war and swept into northern Iraq earlier this summer, sounded a note of alarm several days after the group posted a video on social media showing one of its fighters beheading an American hostage kidnapped in Syria.




Military brass, ex-officials presssure White House to expand ISIS fight to Syria

Top U.S. military brass and former administration officials are publicly pressuring the White House to consider taking the fight against the Islamic State into Syria, warning that the terror organization poses an unprecedented threat to the United States.

"ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday, adding that the U.S. will have to take a "cold, steely hard look" and "get ready."




General: 'Destroy the Islamic State Now'
                

General John Allen, who is retired from the military, says that the Islamic State (known as ISIS, ISIL, or IS) must be destroyed now.

"The brutal murder of the brave American journalist James Foley is meant to directly terrorize the world’s media, the international community, and the United States. If all the actions of the Islamic State, or IS, to date weren’t sufficiently reprehensible, this act and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America," writes Allen in a piece for Defense One.

"Make no mistake, the abomination of IS is a clear and present danger to the U.S. The only question really is whether the U.S. and its allies and partners will act decisively now while they can still shape events to destroy IS, an act that seems increasingly self-obvious."
SENATOR: ISIS developing plan to 'blow up' major U.S. city...
'Most dangerous position we've ever been in'...
FBI: Using Online Tactics To Radicalize, Recruit Americans...


Feds: Obama Broke Law with Berdahl Swap


President Obama violated a “clear and unambiguous” law when he released five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday.

“[The Department of Defense] violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” the GAO report said. “In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

The GAO rejected the idea that the action was legal and sidestepped the Obama team’s suggestion that the law is unconstitutional.



Chinese Jet Threatened U.S. Intelligence Aircraft

Su-27 flew within 50 feet of new P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet near Japan

A Chinese jet fighter flew dangerously close to a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft near Japan this week in an encounter that highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the East China Sea on Monday when the incident occurred, said U.S. defense officials familiar with reports of the encounter.

The defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor jet flew within 50 feet of the P-8 and then carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.



Hamas kills 18 suspected Israel informants

Hamas carried out a deadly purge of suspected informants in Gaza, killing as many as 18 people suspected of providing information to the Israel Defense Forces as fighting flared anew following the collapse of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks.

Masked gunmen killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshippers were ending midday prayers on Friday, according to a witness and Hamas media. Earlier in the day, Hamas killed 11 men by firing squad in Gaza City's police headquarters, according to the Hamas-run Al Rai website.



Ebola Outbreak Enters Sixth Month With No End in Sight

Though two American aid workers have recovered from Ebola, the outbreak continues to spread in West Africa with no end in sight.

At last count, the virus had killed at least 1,427 people and sickened 1,188 more – numbers thought to “vastly underestimate” the outbreak’s true toll, according to the World Health Organization.



James Foley's Family: Pope's Call Comforted Us


The parents of slain American journalist James Foley said a call from Pope Francis gave the family great comfort following their son's death at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS).

John and Diane Foley told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" the call touched them "very deeply," especially since the Pope had just lost members of his own family in a car crash in South America.

"Huge comfort, huge comfort. Because Pope Francis, like Jesus, loves, like Jim. He understood Jim's heart. Here Pope Francis himself, having lost three family members, was in deep grief himself. And yet he reached out," Diane Foley said Friday.



'Tone Deaf' Obama Slammed Over Golf After Foley Horror


President Barack Obama is facing mounting criticism over his decision to play golf right after he had attempted to comfort the parents of murdered American journalist James Foley, The New York Times reported.

Obama called John and Diane Foley at their home in New Hampshire to say that he was "heartbroken" by the brutal death of their son, who was beheaded by the violent terror group Islamic State, also known as ISIS.


   
Arrest warrant issued for Santa Barbara TB patient


A Santa Barbara man with a contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis was wanted on an arrest warrant Friday so he can complete treatment, health officials said.

Agustin Zeferino, 24, discontinued treatment for the disease two weeks ago, Santa Barbara County Health Department officials said. Zeferino poses a serious health risk to anyone who comes in contact with him, the department said.



Calm restored in Ferguson, support for officer builds

As calm remained early Friday morning on the streets where Michael Brown's death brought angry protests, support for the officer who killed the teen remained strong.

A page created to raise donations for Darren Wilson raised $218,000 from 5,400 people in the last four days.

The page on the gofundme site says, "We stand behind Officer Darren Wilson and his family during this trying time in their lives. All proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees."



Dealing with the mad dogs in Iraq

So what do you do when a pack of mad dogs invades your town — or your world?

The short answer is easy: You kill ‘em, with no apologies to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But it’s not easy for the civilized to deal with rabid men among us.

Barack Obama is counting on rhetoric to wipe out rabies. Mr. Cool even showed unexpected passion after jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq beheaded an American news photographer. He declaimed the obvious, but he said it well (as he usually does).

The killers, he said, “have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims — both Shia and Sunni — by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reasons than a different religion.”



The media and the mob of Ferguson

Casting blame based on skin color should have ended with Jim Crow

Those of us who admit that we were not there and do not know what happened when Michael Brown was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., seem to be in the minority.

We all know what has happened since then — and it has been a complete disgrace by politicians, the media and mobs of rioters and looters. Despite all the people who act as though they know exactly what happened, nevertheless, when the full facts come out, that can change everything.

This is why we have courts of law, instead of relying on the media or mobs. But politics are undermining law.




Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE Photo

CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.



From the Archives

American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM

American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.

Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.

However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.

Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.

However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.

Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.

Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.

“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.

But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.

Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.

In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.

The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.

When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.