Have we gone to war again?
Aug29

Have we gone to war again?

WASHINGTON — I’d like to know whether the United States is at war with the Islamic State. I’d like to know why — or why not. I’d like to know whether the goal of U.S. policy is to contain the jihadist militia or destroy it. President Obama? Members of Congress? Please pay attention. I’m talking to you. The barbarians who decapitated journalist James Foley — and who commit atrocities on a daily...

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Too detached to lead? (Guest Voice)
Aug28

Too detached to lead? (Guest Voice)

Too detached to lead? by Michael Gerson Washington Post Writers Group Columnist WASHINGTON — Having once served a president, I don’t begrudge any president a vacation. There is, in fact, no escape from this relentless job. A change of scenery does not involve a change in responsibilities, or even a release from the essence of the president’s routine. The intelligence briefings stalk him. Presidential respites are...

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The ISIS-Iraq Crisis
Aug27

The ISIS-Iraq Crisis

Summary of news from in and around Iraq. Source, unless otherwise indicated: The Stars and Stripes The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria, a family representative said. The 26-year-old woman is the third American known to have been kidnapped by the radical group. The Islamic State group recently threatened to kill American hostages to avenge the crushing...

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What line to draw on beheadings?
Aug27

What line to draw on beheadings?

What line to draw on beheadings? by Ruth Marcus Washington Post Writers Group Columnist WASHINGTON — “Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.” So tweeted Kelly Foley, a cousin of beheaded journalist James Foley, as the video of the brutal execution began to go viral — as the Islamic State intended. Beheaded journalist. How horrible to write a sentence featuring...

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Islamic State and the pitfalls of evil
Aug26

Islamic State and the pitfalls of evil

Sadly and ominously, some of the hardline American response to the Islamic State is trending towards a war of religions. It is the path terrorists want but is the worst on which to be. It is a time-tested labyrinth of inconclusive attrition. President Barack Obama took a step into the labyrinth after James Foley’s barbaric beheading. “There is evil in this world … Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil. ISIL is the...

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‘Short-Lived’ Islamic State Serves America’s Purpose (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)
Aug25

‘Short-Lived’ Islamic State Serves America’s Purpose (L’Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)

As much as American officials and the country’s corporate media refuse to acknowledge or discuss the fact that al-Qaeda and ISIL are foreign policy creations and tools of the United States and its so-called allies, media in the rest of the world rarely fail to mention it. For Lebanon’s L’Orient Le Jour, columnist M. Saadoune explains how the latest activities of Daech, otherwise known in the West as the Islamic State...

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Where Opinions Don’t Matter
Aug25

Where Opinions Don’t Matter

Indicative of the great diversity of opinions Americans have and because of the freedoms we enjoy expressing them, one can find the full spectrum of views on what should be done about ISIS and about related terrorism/bad actors-nations problems. They range from doing nothing to “bomb, bomb, bomb the hell out of them” — and everything in between. My opinions, for whatever they are worth, fall somewhere in between — and I...

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No time to lead from behind (Guest Voice)
Aug24

No time to lead from behind (Guest Voice)

No time to lead from behind by Michael Gerson Washington Post Writers Group Columnist WASHINGTON — Responding to the horrifying murder of photojournalist James Foley, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, “ISIL [the Islamic State] and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed.” President Obama said, “people like this ultimately fail.” The first is a pledge; the second an observation. Obama remains...

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Beheading Shows ‘Weakness’; Video Should Not Be Viewed (Le Nouvel Observateur, France)
Aug24

Beheading Shows ‘Weakness’; Video Should Not Be Viewed (Le Nouvel Observateur, France)

In a world in which few of our institutions in government or media are trusted to tell the truth, who should decide what the public is permitted to see – and not? The horrifying terrorist beheading of journalist James Foley is only the latest story to spark this debate, after the recent terrorist shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines MH17. In this column from France’s Le Nouvel Observateur, war correspondent Jean-Paul Mari...

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(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?
Aug23

(Updated) Is US Considering Expanding Air Strikes into Syria?

Update: The Washington Post has a piece discussing how and why it may be premature and/or risky to launch air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Among these: Intelligence gaps (as became clear in the failed attempt to rescue Foley) and lack of capabilities to “provide reliable-enough intelligence to sustain a campaign of strikes.” The nature and sophistication of Syria’s air defense capabilities “Our intelligence is improving...

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Friends, Allies and Enemies
Aug23

Friends, Allies and Enemies

This post is going to make some uncomfortable, make some angry but just perhaps a few will see some wisdom in it. ‘  The socio-political world is in a constant state of flux.  As conditions change we must reevaluate who our friends and allies are.  One of the most disturbing recent events is the rather sudden rise of ISIS.  There are indications this organization is not so much driven by religion but a psychopathic desire to...

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Islamic State: Obama needs friends
Aug23

Islamic State: Obama needs friends

The main reason for the rise of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is that Washington is losing influence over events in the Middle East. So forces hostile to the US are entering the power vacuum. Regaining control requires wining more friends among neighboring nations and peoples. Giving primacy only to American military power produces fear or fawning, not friendship. Most of the world’s people accept President Barack Obama as “the leader of the...

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(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue
Aug23

(Updates) U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIL Continue

Update II: Vice President Biden wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday expressing confidence that ISIS could be defeated without U.S. ground troops in Iraq. Here are some excerpts: These steps [to form a new Iraqi government] are meaningful because they show that Iraqis have begun to understand that they must rise above their differences. And that, when they do, they can succeed — not only in uniting the country but in...

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The Ebola Horror: No Comments, Just Prayers
Aug22

The Ebola Horror: No Comments, Just Prayers

I have seen first-hand the anguish and desperation of a young mother whose baby has been diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital heart disease for which, in her native country, there are few prospects for the specialized and prohibitively expensive open-heart surgery that is required. I have also seen first-hand the joy of the same mother when she is able to listen, for the first time, to the regular, healthy beat of her baby’s...

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ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees
Aug21

ISIL Terrorists Must be Defeated, JCS Chairman Says – Hagel Agrees

At a Pentagon news conference today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey , said the ISIL terror group has an “apocalyptic, end-of-days” vision that eventually must be defeated, not only in Iraq but in Syria as well. Referring to ISIL as ISIS because such highlights the terrorists’ long-term goal of establishing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Dempsey explains “Al-Sham includes Lebanon,...

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An ISIS primer: who, what and when
Aug21

An ISIS primer: who, what and when

An ISIS primer: who, what and when By Shoshana Bryen and Michael Johnson WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), currently controls about one-third of Iraq. It is a combination of: • A non-al-Qaeda revival of the al-Qaeda-sponsored Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) organization that tried to take over western Iraq 2003-?2006, and • Sunni Syrian rebel groups...

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(Updated) The President and John Kerry on Foley’s Murder
Aug20

(Updated) The President and John Kerry on Foley’s Murder

Update: Apparently, the U.S. had attempted a rescue operation to free Foley and other American hostages held in Syria by ISIL. Sadly, the mission failed “because hostages were not present at the targeted location” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement announcing the unsuccessful mission, “the U.S. government will not tolerate the abduction of its people and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of...

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Obama’s hard choices: Islamic State or just terrorists?
Aug20

Obama’s hard choices: Islamic State or just terrorists?

President Barack Obama will have to act more forcefully and quickly in both Iraq and Syria if he does decide to take the fight to the Islamic State to preempt a barbaric fortress of anti-Western terrorists. James Foley’s gruesome beheading underscores the urgency of unambiguous actions. First, he will have to clarify whether he sees IS as terrorism in new guise or a qualitatively different bid for statehood capable of undermining the...

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Racing in the ‘Baja 1000’ to Heal Young Hearts
Aug20

Racing in the ‘Baja 1000’ to Heal Young Hearts

Every year, scores of adventurous men and women compete in one of the most grueling racing events, the SCORE Baja 1000. This year’s 1,130-mile race — the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – will take place November 12 through 16. It will start in Ensenada, Baja California, and end 1,130 miles and 30 to 40 hours later in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The race tests both machines and humans as it takes place over some of the...

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ISIS Releases Video of Execution, Alleges Victim is American Journalist James Foley
Aug19

ISIS Releases Video of Execution, Alleges Victim is American Journalist James Foley

A video released Tuesday by militant Islamic extremist group ISIS depicts the violent execution of a man alleged to be missing American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria last year. Foley, 39, was taken while working for Agence France Presse. AFP has no comment at this time, AFP’s Chief Editor for North America told… ISIS Releases Video of Execution, Alleges Victim is American Journalist James...

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