Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blinders, Cupidity,Temerity., Stupidity, Hypocrisy and Feckless. Words One Can Use To Describe American Leadership and Even Americans. How Sad.

                         A Blind President!

There's two old guys sitting in a club library reading the Wall Street Journal. The first guy lowers his paper and says, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." The second guy lowers his paper and says, 
"Those who learn history are still doomed by the people who don't."
Obama drowned by the tide he could not/does not wish to control?  Even some horses run without blinders but not our "el presidente."

Does anyone in D.C. running for the presidency read anymore? Do they not know you can learn from others who are learned? (See 1, 1a, 1b and 1c below.)
Realistic threats facing America and Israel.

The first keeps Woolsey up at night and the second Netanyahu.(See 2 and 2a below.)

2a deserves reposting and who is Woolsey, for those who do not know?

(R. James Woolsey is a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management. He also Chairs FDD's Leadership Council of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
( Mr. Woolsey currently chairs the Strategic Advisory Group of the Washington, D.C. private equity fund, Paladin Capital Group, chairs the Advisory Board of the Opportunities Development Group, and he is Of Counsel to the Washington, D.C. office of the Boston-based law firm, Goodwin Procter. In the above capacities he specializes in a range of alternative energy and security issues.)

What does Woolsey think of Obama's Iran Deal? (See 2b below.)

I am off for the next 10 days. What you will read, if you take the time to do so, should also keep you up while I am gone.  The authors of these various articles are not insane. They are not kooks. They are not war mongers. They are brilliant minds devoting their expertise to thinking about our nation and the risks we face because of incompetence, arrogance, ignorance and contempt for what America stands for at the top of government.

What a tragic mess we have allowed our nation to sink into because we refuse to do right by our children and those beyond. We have pawned off their future because we were unwilling to be realistic and would not pay the price of our own cupidity.

Most every war we fought could have been avoided but we chose to ignore reality, we chose the easy route of denial, we allowed the consequences of temerity to paralyze us, to rule our behaviour and we ultimately paid a much larger and needless price in the end as, I believe, we will again. 

How very sad.
Sowell and Prager  post Orlando. (See 3 and 3a below.)

It is really getting hard to discern whether stupidity or hypocrisy or both guide our nation's leaders. Certainly we lack the will to fight radical Islam because we are so PC constrained and so poorly led.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++1) President Canute and Orlando

Barack Obama discovers too late that he cannot order the tide of war to recede

By Bret Stephens 

In the spring of 2013 Barack Obama delivered the defining speech of his presidency on the subject of terrorism. Its premise was wrong, as was its thesis, as were its predictions and recommendations. We are now paying the price for this cascade of folly.

“Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants,” the president boasted at the National Defense University, in Washington, D.C. “There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure.” The “future of terrorism,” he explained, consisted of “less capable” al Qaeda affiliates, “localized threats” against Westerners in faraway places such as Algeria, and homegrown killers like the Boston Marathon bombers.

All of this suggested that it was time to call it quits on what Mr. Obama derided as “a boundless ‘global war on terror.’ ” That meant sharply curtailing drone strikes, completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, and closing Guantanamo prison. It meant renewing efforts “to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and seeking “transitions to democracy” in Libya and Egypt. And it meant working with Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda.

“This war, like all wars, must end,” he said. “That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

King Canute of legend stood on an English shoreline and ordered the tide to recede. President Canute stood before a Beltway audience and ordered the war to end. Neither tide nor war obeyed.

In 2010, al Qaeda in Iraq—Islamic State’s predecessor—was “dead on its feet,” as terrorism expert Michael Knights told Congress. World-wide, the U.S. government estimated al Qaeda’s total strength at no more than 4,000 fighters. That was the result of George W. Bush’s surge in Iraq, of Mr. Obama’s own surge in Afghanistan, and of the aggressive campaign of drone killings in Pakistan and Yemen.
But then the Obama Doctrine kicked in. Between 2010 and 2013 the number of jihadists world-wide doubled, to 100,000, while the number of jihadist groups rose by 58%, according to a Rand Corp. study. That was before ISIS declared its caliphate.

Today, the U.S. government estimates that ISIS can count on as many as 25,000 fighters. This is after a two-year campaign of airstrikes to destroy the group. In Libya alone, U.S. intelligence recently doubled its estimate of ISIS fighters, to as many as 6,000. Even “core” al Qaeda is surging again in its Afghan and Pakistani heartland, thanks in part to the military gains the Taliban have made in the face of America’s withdrawal.

Apologists for Mr. Obama will rejoin that it’s unfair to blame him for trends in terrorism, an argument that would have more credibility if he hadn’t been so eager to take credit for those trends only three years ago. The same apologists also claim that the U.S. cannot possibly cure what ails the Middle East, and that no law-enforcement agency can stop a lone-wolf terrorist such as Omar Mateen.But these arguments fail. The rise of ISIS was a predictable result of Mr. Obama’s abdication in Iraq and especially Syria—a result Mr. Obama himself foresaw in his 2013 speech. “We must strengthen the opposition in Syria, while isolating extremist elements,” he said, “because the end of a tyrant must not give way to the tyranny of terrorism.” Was the opposition strengthened? Were the extremists isolated?

As for lone wolves, one study from last year cited 38 cases of “lone wolf” terrorism between 1940 and 2001, another 12 during the eight years of the Bush administration—and more than 50 since then.

The phenomenon is catching in part because ISIS is canny at using the internet and social media to attract and activate recruits. But what ISIS mainly does is give aimless and insignificant young men what most young men secretly crave—a cause worth dying for. When Mr. Obama attempts to reassure Americans by suggesting, as he did Monday, that Mateen was not part of “a larger plot,” he demonstrates once again that he doesn’t understand the enemy. ISIS, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups are not criminal conspiracies. They are a religious movement. No coordination is required for the true believer to put his faith into action.

It would require more humility than Mr. Obama is capable of mustering to admit that what happened in Orlando is also a consequence of his decisions—of allowing Iraq and Syria to descend to chaos; of pretending that we could call off the war on terror because fighting it didn’t fit a political narrative; of failing to defeat ISIS swiftly and utterly; of refusing to recognize the religious roots of terror; of treating the massacre in San Bernardino as an opportunity to lecture Americans about Islamophobia, and Orlando as another argument for gun control.

This is the president’s record. His successor will have to do better to avoid future Orlandos. Will she?

By Boaz Bismuth

Following the Orlando attack, U.S. President Barack Obama still can´t bring himself to talk about Islamic terrorism • The current administration can go on living in denial, but not the candidates for president, and certainly not the American public.

How convenient it would have been if the man responsible for the horrific massacre in Orlando hadn´t been named Omar Mateen; his parents hadn´t been from Afghanistan; he hadn´t had ties to a radical imam; and if he hadn´t made two mysterious visits to Saudi Arabia.

Let´s say we were talking about some guy named, say, Martin Lewis, from Oregon, for example, who had a history of mental health problems and was yet another name on the long list of shocking murderers the U.S. has known. How convenient that would have been for the administration. Then the debate would have been about the Second Amendment and the right of American citizens to bear arms, and not about the fight against Islamist terrorism and the Islamic State group.

But what can you do -- that isn´t the case, despite what U.S. President Barack Obama would like. The fact is that even Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president who understands the real fear that exists in America today, talked about jihad on Monday and even proved she was willing to utter the words "Islamic terrorism." Clinton might be attacking presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, but between us, she´s taking the same line he is on terrorism. Hey, did you forget there´s an election in November?

Obama is becoming more and more of a puzzle. Despite everything that has come out by now about the Orlando massacre, including the shooter´s declaration of allegiance to the Islamic State during the terrible incident, and the fact that Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, Obama still isn´t convinced.

As far as the American president is concerned, there is still no proof that Mateen received instructions from beyond the U.S. borders. But this is where the president is mistaken. Times like these are when he should speak clearly. True, it´s not clear whether Mateen operated under the direction or the inspiration of the Islamic State, but what does it matter? The spirit of the organization has reached America. The Orlando shooting was in fact the fourth Islamist terrorist attack to take place in the U.S. during Obama´s term in office. This might be the right time for Obama to admit the truth, even if it doesn´t jibe with the 44th president´s worldview.

You can laugh at Trump until the cows come home, but what he said Monday about it being time to put an end to political correctness and call a spade a spade was actually right, and it´s what is expected in crazy days like these when America is battling terrorism and a state of emergency has been declared in Florida´s Orange County.

You can´t defeat a disease unless the doctor makes an accurate diagnosis. And you can´t win a war unless you identify the enemy. And to prevent generalizations and slander against an entire sector of the American population, they need to speak clearly and not allow the real debate to be sidetracked, because doing so doesn´t serve the interests of Muslims in America. In fact, it hurts them.

If the debate in America today is about weapons restrictions, that means that Islamic terrorism won twice: once with the mega-terrorist attack Saturday, and again in Washington, which is writing another chapter of the Saramago´s novel "Blindness." America is lucky this is an election year: The current administration can go on living in denial, but not the candidates for president, and certainly not the American public.


EMPs: A Threat We’re Not Ready For

An electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear device or solar storm would be catastrophic, yet the U.S. remains unprepared.

By Joe Colangelo
The federal government has long known that electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs, pose a significant threat to America’s infrastructure, particularly the electrical grid. Yet federal agencies have done little to defend against this danger, as a congressional hearing last month shows.

EMPs are bursts of energy that can be caused by a nuclear detonation or a major solar storm. They induce massive voltage spikes in electronic devices and can irreparably damage all sorts of equipment—from large power transformers to household electronics.

An EMP produced by solar activity could cause extended blackouts for 40 million Americans and cost as much as $2.6 trillion, according to a 2013 study by Lloyd’s of London. In 2014 the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security told Congress that EMPs pose “existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse.”

A special EMP commission created by Congress offered a report in 2008 with nearly 100 concrete steps to mitigate the risk. For instance, upgrading the electric grid to be secure from the EMP threat would cost roughly $2 billion, while protecting 5,000 power-generation plants would cost only $250 million. These recommendations were meant to initiate direct action from both the departments of Homeland Security and Energy.

But in April the Government Accountability Office released an alarming account of the bureaucratic dysfunction obstructing EMP mitigation. The GAO determined that although divisions within Homeland Security have been assigned specific tasks, departmental leaders have failed to ensure that this work is carried out. The two departments have not even identified the elements of the electrical infrastructure that most need protecting. Nor have the agencies coordinated strategies to address risks associated with EMPs, including research and development of equipment designed to mitigate damage.
On May 17 at a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, a GAO official explained that there had not been a “comprehensive, holistic effort to address” the EMP commission’s recommendations and “no designated lead for coordinating all these efforts.”

Brandon Wales of Homeland Security explained that his agency is working with the Energy Department on a study to assess the EMP risk. The study will not be completed until next summer, nearly a decade after the EMP commission published its recommendations.

My organization, Consumers’ Research, conducted its own study of EMPs out of concern for the threat they pose to the nation’s economic well-being. Though complexity contributes to the sorry state of preparedness, a major factor is bureaucratic ambiguity about who owns the problem. Worse, the recommendations of the EMP commission carry no legislative or executive mandate.

The consequences of inaction could be tremendous. In a 2012 article in Space Weather, Pete Riley of Predictive Science put the chances of a major solar storm in the next 10 years as high as 12%. Disruption of the electrical grid could have, as the GAO says, “cascading impacts on fuel distribution, transportation systems, food and water supplies, and communications and equipment for emergency services.”

The departments of Homeland Security and Energy are not protecting Americans from these threats.

They are not doing their jobs.

Mr. Colangelo, a former U.S. Navy officer, is executive director of Consumers’ Research. 

2a) Missiles Everywhere

By Willy Stern

Willy Stern, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University's law school, has reported from six continents.

Camp Shomera, on the Israel-Lebanon border

Hezbollah has a nasty collection of more than 130,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars aimed at Israel. This is a bigger arsenal than all NATO countries (except the United States) combined. Why, a reasonable person might wonder, does Hezbollah need an offensive arsenal bigger than that of all Western Europe?

“You don't collect 130,000 missiles if you don't intend to use them," says Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Hezbollah is a well-funded, violently anti-Israel terrorist organization based in Lebanon and a puppet of the Iranian regime.

In Hezbollah's arsenal are about 700 long-range, high-payload rockets and missiles with names like Fateh-110 and Scud D. They are capable of taking down entire buildings in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, wreaking havoc at Israel's major military bases, killing thousands of Israeli civilians, shutting down the nation's airports and ports, and taking out the electric grid. And that's just in the first week.

Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) major general Yaakov Amidror is talking about the M-600 missile. It's a fairly accurate ballistic missile that weighs more than a Hummer H2 and carries a formidable warhead. The M-600 can also deliver chemical weapons. A single M-600 could wipe out a good chunk of Times Square and maim and kill people four football fields away from the point of impact. Hezbollah has a lot of M-600s.

Amidror, Israel's former national security adviser, is asked what the next war between Israel and Hezbollah will look like. "We are not looking for war," says Amidror. "But suppose Hezbollah launches an advanced missile like the M-600 at the Kirya, the IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv, or a large apartment complex in Jerusalem. Our defense technology quickly finds the launcher. It is right under a 22-story residential building in Beirut. We can now see in real time the launcher being moved back under the building to reload."

"We have just minutes to act," explains Amidror. "The IDF will have to take out the launcher because the next missile can cause enormous damage in Israel. But to take out the launcher means the 22-story building may fall. We would try to use precision-guided missiles to protect civilians but the target is hard to reach. We will try to warn the residents but the timing is tight. That building will almost certainly be hit. And the images in the international media will almost certainly be awful." But, asks Amidror, today a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, "What alternative do we have?"

No good one, since the building in the scenario described would be a legitimate military target. So say a bevy of international military law experts, including Geoff Corn of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, who has studied IDF targeting policies: "After exhausting all feasible efforts to reduce civilian risk, IDF commanders must resolve the decisive question: Is the potential for civilian harm excessive in comparison to the advantages the attack would provide? When you talk of an M-600 in the hands of an enemy that targets vital military assets or the civilian population—even if that apartment building is full—launching the attack will be necessary to mitigate the threat."

Professor Corn is well aware of what will happen next. "The international community will look at the images and will note that the immediate cause of destruction was Israeli munitions. But—and here is the kicker—both legally and morally, the cause of these tragic consequences will lie solely at the feet of Hezbollah."

Hezbollah cleverly places its arsenal where any Israeli military response—even legal, carefully planned, narrowly targeted, proportionate measures—will lead to huge civilian casualties among Lebanese. Why? Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's cunning leader, sees a win-win situation. He'd like nothing better than for the IDF to kill Lebanese civilians. When these awful images appear on CNN and the front pages of the New York Times, Nasrallah will paint the IDF as baby-killers and worse.

And if the IDF shies away from attacking legitimate military targets in civilian sectors, then Nasrallah achieves both military and strategic advantages, and his fighters can continue to rain deadly rockets down on Israel's civilians, infrastructure, and military installations. Says one IDF officer, "We don't have the luxury of waiting, monitoring, considering." Keep in mind that Hezbollah has a long history of attacking Jewish, Israeli, and Western (including American) targets, both at home and overseas.

This writer spent two-plus weeks embedded with IDF units around the country, meeting with scores of soldiers, from sergeants to generals, from frontline commanders to nerdy intelligence analysts, from patrol boat captains to fighter pilots, from civil defense experts to high-tech air defense geeks. All these military tacticians and strategists were intently focused on preparing for the next war with Hezbollah.

Why did the IDF pull back the curtain and provide such access not only to its top brass but also to classified documents, war-gaming exercises, and strategic projections? Because Israel wants the world to know that (1) a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon will be, unavoidably, awful; and (2) the massive collateral damage won't be -Israel's fault. Even more than that, the IDF seems to be pleading to the international community: Do something. Stop Hezbollah. Before it is too late, and they drag the region into a bloody hellhole.

The bottom line: Hezbollah does nothing to mitigate civilian risk and everything to exacerbate that risk. 

The IDF does the opposite.

What will a future war look like? Some clues: -Hezb-ollah has amassed not just rockets and missiles. Iran has supplied its favorite terrorist organization with other top-of-the-line weaponry. For military aficionados, these would include the latest guided, tank-piercing Russian-made "Kornet" missiles, SA-17 and SA-22 air defense systems, and even the "Yakhont" class surface-to-ship cruise missiles.

Making matters worse for IDF planners, Hezbollah boasts a standing army of more than 10,000 soldiers—a figure that could add two or three times that amount of reservists in the event of a war with Israel. In short, since its last major conflict with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah has dramatically increased its combat capabilities and armory. The terrorist organization has leapt from the jayvee team to the major leagues across every fighting platform.

True, Hezbollah is stretched these days from rotating its troops into Syria. But that also means that many Hezbollah soldiers will be battle-tested and tough; some 6,000 to 7,000 of them have been fighting alongside Syrian Army regulars in an effort to prop up Bashar al-Assad, Syria's ruthless dictator and another Iranian favorite (Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah are all led by Shiite Muslims).

Make no mistake: Should hostilities break out, there will be a deadly ground war. Aerial operations simply aren't enough to dismantle and root out Hezbollah's maze of underground launchers, tunnels, and infrastructure that are aimed right over Israel's border.

No matter how brave a face the IDF leadership tries to put on, in the next conflict with Hezbollah, IDF tanks will get blown to bits, aircraft will be shot from the sky, navy patrol boats will be sunk, and the multibillion-dollar Israeli offshore gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea could end up on the sea floor. Many young IDF soldiers will be coming home in body bags. Nothing would make Nasrallah happier. He is clear in public statements that he'd dearly like to murder every Jew in the world but especially those in Israel. In speeches, he describes Israel as a "cancerous entity" of "ultimate evil" and joyfully calls for its "annihilation."

Deterrence is a big part of Israel's defense strategy; acknowledging these scenarios doesn't sit right with many in IDF's military structure. They don't want to frighten Israel's civilian population. Nor do they want to embolden Israel's enemies. But the IDF is trying really hard to give the world a wake-up call about what's coming down the pike.

Even in a best-case scenario for preventing Israel's civilian casualties—meaning a vast majority of Israelis would be able to get into hardened shelters before the first deadly salvo is launched from Lebanon—IDF planners quietly acknowledge that "as many as hundreds" of Israeli noncombatants might be killed per day in the first week or two of the conflict. If Hezbollah's first missile salvos are launched without warning, the Israeli civilian death count could be 10 times higher. We're talking grandparents and toddlers alike.

Israel's top military brass acknowledges that its high-tech missile-defense system will be "lucky" to shoot down 90 percent of incoming rockets, missiles, and mortars. Hezbollah has the capacity to shoot 1,500 missiles per day. That means 150—likely more—deadly projectiles could get through in a day. Israel's Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow 3, and other state-of-the-art systems for shooting down incoming rockets and missiles are the best in the world but imperfect. "Even with Israel's technological superiority, it would be a major blunder to underestimate Hezbollah's ability to do serious damage," cautions Amos Harel, the respected military/defense correspondent for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.

One irony: It's not only those in Tokyo and Chicago and Brussels who have little idea what such a conflict will look like. Many Israelis are fairly clueless (or are well practiced in the Israeli art of trying to live normal lives surrounded by lethal enemies). Residents of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem read about recent wars in newspapers every morning while sipping latte in their favorite café.

Not this time. They will be in bunkers. Possibly for a very long time. IDF major general (reserves) 
Gershon Hacohen explains, "ATMs won't work. With the electric grid out, how will Israelis get to their 30th-floor apartments without elevators? How will they cook?"

Israel will almost certainly be forced to try to evacuate most citizens in the northern part of the country. Why? Because Hezbollah's arsenal includes about 100,000 short-range rockets aimed at schools, hospitals, and homes. These rockets—including Falaks, Katyushas, Fajr-3s, and 122 Grads—may not be particularly accurate but they're also not in air long enough for the IDF defensive weapons systems to shoot them down. They are lethal.

Imagine if New Jersey shot more than 1,000 deadly rockets over the Hudson River into Manhattan every day. No doubt, those on the Upper West Side would also be a bit peeved. "There is no country in the world—not Israel, not the U.S., not in Europe—who would not go to war to stop a rocket barrage of that nature," explains Nadav Pollak, formerly in an IDF intelligence unit and today a counterterrorism fellow at the Washington Institute.

Small teams of elite Hezbollah commandos will almost certainly be able to slip into Israel and may wreak havoc among Israeli villages in the north. One scenario that has IDF strategists concerned: A Hezbollah team infiltrates into northern Israel via small boat at night, kills every man, woman, and child in a remote village, and then escapes into the darkness. The public relations value to Hezbollah would be enormous. "Anything that creates fear and terror among Israelis is a win for Hezbollah," says an IDF Home Front Command senior official. Another big fear: the kidnapping of IDF soldiers, as has happened before. In fact, it was the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers on a routine patrol along the Lebanese border which triggered the 2006 conflict.

Thumbing its nose at legal and ethical norms for armed conflict, Hezbollah has strategically placed its launchers and other deadly weaponry in homes, schools, hospitals, and densely populated civilian centers throughout Lebanon. This arsenal is supposedly "hidden." Still, the IDF knows where many of these weapons are stored and shared classified maps with me. These maps showed remarkably detailed information indicating that Hezbollah is storing its weaponry in dozens of southern Lebanese villages but also in Beirut proper, where the organization is headquartered in the densely populated suburb of Dahiya.

Amos Yadlin is the executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. Speaking of the latest air-to-surface guided missiles, the retired IDF major general says matter-of-factly, "JDAMs dropped from F-16s can do a lot of damage." Given Israel's sophisticated, high-tech war-fighting machine, Yadlin says the IDF will have "clear superiority" in any conflict with Hezbollah. Deterrence matters. Yadlin and every IDF officer I spoke to made one point clear: A war with Hezbollah may be ugly, but Israel will win. Decisively.

Military law expert Corn is among those who believe Hezbollah should be called to answer for its unlawful tactics: "Hezbollah should be pressured starting today to avoid locating such vital military assets amongst civilians." Corn fears that "the instinctual condemnation of Israel will only encourage continuation of these illicit tactics."

Corn is correct. Two conclusions are inescapable and well voiced by a world-weary IDF officer: "The next war with Hezbollah is going to be an absolute shitstorm. And we're going to be blamed."

Civilian deaths in Lebanon will be a tragedy by any standard, but they will not be Israel's fault. The primary duty of every nation is to protect its citizens. Israel will do what any country would do if deadly rockets rain down on its cities and military bases: It will respond.

In keeping with its history, the IDF is committed to responding judiciously and well within the accepted laws of armed conflict. But the outcomes will be very different from previous conflicts. Why? Because Hezbollah's fighting force and arsenal are those of a nation-state, but its tactics are those of a terrorist organization. Tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians will almost certainly die. The international media—many either reflexively anti-Israel or simply naïve—will have a field day.

The IDF is smart to try to explain its side of the story in advance. At least so says retired U.S. Army major general Mike Jones, coauthor of a detailed report on the IDF's conduct in its latest conflict with Hamas, the other terrorist organization on its border. "Despite what may have been reported on the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, we found that the IDF went to extreme lengths in Gaza to avoid civilian casualties," says Jones.

Hezbollah and other radical Islamist groups are trying to delegitimize the laws of armed conflict; this ought to be of concern to all law-abiding nations and militaries. Jones believes that the IDF (and other Western nations) is "absolutely right" to try to get out in front on the strategic messaging issue.

Yes, strategic messaging. The IDF has long operated under the presumption that being in the right was enough to carry the day in the court of public opinion. No more. Anti-Israel propaganda is everywhere. Many politicians, journalists, academics, and policy wonks are eager to denounce Israel regardless of facts or logic.

One IDF officer pointed to another possibility, namely that many reporters and average Joes simply cannot fathom the reality of war: "When one sees civilians killed, it's natural to blame the person who directly caused their death. But in war we need to look beyond. Civilians will die, but who is ultimately morally responsible? Is it the army that is forced to target military targets hidden among civilians—and uses precision weapons and warnings—or is it the group that deliberately puts their own civilians in the line of fire?"

The IDF is aware that future conflicts with Hezbollah will be fought on at least two battlegrounds. The first, obviously, will involve guns, tanks, and fighter jets. (Or, as one IDF officer put it, "The mutual exchange of high explosives will be the name of the game.") The second front will encompass the court of public opinion. Israel is wisely opening up its second front early. When the next war occurs, the IDF will endeavor to have both law and morality on its side. Will anybody care?

"Imagine that you are sitting in Georgetown, overlooking the Potomac River, sipping a great beer, waiting for your shrimp order to arrive," says Brigadier General Mickey Edelstein, commander of the IDF National Training Center for Ground Forces. "Then the alarm sounds, and you have maybe 10 to 20 seconds to get into a shelter. If you are slow, you will be killed. The same goes for your wife, your kids. That's why we will take out Hezbollah's legitimate military targets. Lebanese civilians will need to understand that when Hezbollah uses them as military shields, they are in grave danger."

The IDF no longer distinguishes between the sovereign nation of Lebanon and Hezbollah. Here's why: The terrorist group fully controls southern Lebanon, even to the point of limiting the movements of the Lebanese Army and also of the United Nations forces there. As well, Hezbollah holds significant positions in the Lebanese government and parliament. As such, Lebanon's infrastructure will likely be targeted. The IDF may well go after Lebanese bridges, airports, highways, and the electric grid, and IDF officials want Hezbollah to know this. Again, deterrence.

Hezbollah is also preparing, and not just missiles. I spent a morning on patrol with a senior IDF commander on the Lebanese border. We were in easy range of Hezbollah snipers. The soldier was wisely decked out in full combat gear, including helmet, Kevlar vest, and assault rifle. It's dead easy to peer across the border into the tiny Lebanese village of Ayta Ash Shab and see a Hezbollah operative, dressed like a tourist, using a telephoto lens to snap photos to monitor IDF border patrol activities. All was quiet.

One day, this border will not be so quiet. Firas Abi Ali, senior principal analyst on Lebanon for the London-based country risk consultancy IHS, rates likelihood of war between Israel and Hezbollah as "more than 50 percent" in 5 years and "more than 70 percent" within 10. A mitigating factor in the near term is the war in Syria, which keeps many of Hezbollah's best fighters occupied. But IDF planners cannot afford to think in these subtleties. "There's going to be a war with Hezbollah," says Colonel Elan Dickstein, who runs the Northern Command Training Base. "The only question is when."

One of those preparing is Colonel Tzvika Tzoron, commander of the Haifa district in the Home Front Command. He has been charged with the unenviable task of protecting Israeli citizens in the northern part of the country, including those living in villages right on the Lebanese border. "We hope to give them a few days' notice," says Tzoron. "But who knows what will happen?"

Who knows, indeed? "I go to sleep at night worried, and I wake up worried," admits Lt. Col. Ronen Markham, who runs a battalion of navy patrol boats near the Lebanese border. "I worry about what I do know and worry about what I don't. Most of the world doesn't really understand that war is ugly. War is terrible. War is bloody. War brings casualties. Lots of people—soldiers and civilians—will die. There is no way around it."

But Israel will try to find ways around it. If the IDF's conduct of war against Hamas in Gaza is any indication, the IDF will go far beyond the requirements of the international laws of armed conflict to try to protect civilian life in Lebanon. They will put their own soldiers and their own civilians at risk, in order to minimize collateral damage to Lebanese citizens. Some of the steps the IDF may take to prevent civilian casualties in Lebanon include dropping leaflets warning of impending operations, using aerial assets to monitor civilian presence, and carefully choosing weaponry whenever feasible.

Several top-notch military attorneys from around the world criticized the IDF for its actions to protect civilians in the 2014 Gaza war. But the criticism is not what you might think: These attorneys believe Israel did too much to protect civilian lives.

"The IDF's warnings certainly go beyond what the law requires, but they also sometimes go beyond what would be operational good sense elsewhere," says Michael Schmitt, chairman of the Stockton Center for the Study for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College. "People are going to start thinking that the U.S. and other Western democracies should follow the same examples in different types of conflict. That's a real risk." Schmitt is the author of a recent comprehensive analysis of the IDF's targeting practices.

But here's the kicker: The IDF will apply the same legal standards in any war with Hezbollah, but with very different outcomes. Why? Because Hezbollah has far more dangerous missiles and operates out of high-rise buildings. Speaking bluntly, a senior IDF officer with an intellectual bent explains, "Bizarre though it may sound, it is lawful for more citizens to die. We will be applying the same legal tests in Lebanon but with far more tragic results."

IDF Air Force lieutenant colonel Nisan Cohen winds back to the scenario of a 22-story building in Beirut with an M-600 launcher in its basement. "Even with our best precision-guided missiles and with our best efforts to avoid civilian casualties," he says, "it's very hard to just hit the basement. It's even harder for us to explain afterwards why civilians were harmed." Cohen knows that the IDF is at a competitive disadvantage in terms of telling its side of the story. Photos of destroyed buildings are dead easy to come by and tug at the emotions, while the IDF often must rely on classified information to explain a specific strike.

"We ask the world not to be fooled by propaganda and by images," says a senior IDF official. "Check the facts. Any reasonable and moral human being will determine that the IDF did the right thing in our targeting decisions. There is just a fundamental disconnect between everyday life and war. If you see a picture of a dead baby, you know that it's bad. You want to blame someone. It's nearly impossible for people to flip that switch and try to understand the legal and factual context of war."

Who gets suckered by the anti-Israel propaganda? Plenty of smart folks. Take, for example, a State Department spokesman who ought to have known better. Asked in July 2014 if the Obama administration believed Israel had done enough to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza, Jen Psaki said: ''We believe that certainly there's more that can be done.'' Really? What exactly? She is not alone. Listen to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who told the New York Daily News in April that it was his "recollection" that "over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza." He later was forced to walk back this ridiculous statement.

Military minds, of course, know better. In November 2014, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military—Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs—said that Israel went to "extraordinary lengths" to limit civilian casualties in its recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a working team to Israel to glean what lessons could be learned from that IDF operation. Apparently, the State Department and Bernie Sanders didn't get the memo.

Yaakov Amidror recalls an event from his stint as Israel's national security adviser. In the late summer of 2013, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to Jerusalem. Just prior to a planned meeting with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Amidror got an hour alone with Ban and his aide-de-camp. Amidror pulled out his laptop and presented detailed evidence of Hezbollah's deadly arsenal and the fact that it was strategically placed within densely populated civilian centers. "What do you want us to do?" asked Amidror. Ban offered no response and no suggestions. Instead, the U.N. chief continued 15 feet down the plush carpeted hallway from Amidror's office to his meeting with Netanyahu.

Is it any wonder that Israel is frustrated? Nobody, it seems, in times of peace is willing to offer Israel a constructive suggestion on how to deal with an Iranian-funded terrorist organization in possession of a massive arsenal on its northern border. But these same organizations stand front and center to criticize Israel for acting legally and proportionately for protecting its own citizens in wartime.

Willy Stern, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University's law school, has reported from six continents.

2b)  When Iran Goes Nuclear
Failure to protect the nation would amount to dereliction of duty
By James Woolsey

Our attention these days with regard to security is understandably riveted on the Islamic State, or ISIS, and its hideous decapitations, rapes and live immolations. We must deal with the Islamic State, but it is not the gravest threat we face. The Israelis are right — we should awaken to the fact that the coming of a nuclear Iran holds special dangers and requires particularly urgent attention. There are four driving reasons.

First, the Mideast abounds in clashing religious beliefs, but there is special danger in the Shiite doctrine held by many Iranians, including some of Iran’s national leaders: The return of the hidden Imam will bring the war that ends the world and creates heavenly bliss for believers. As America’s dean of Mideast studies, Bernard Lewis, puts it: During the Cold War, Mutual Assured Destruction was a deterrent; today it is an inducement.
Second, Iran works very closely with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs. Consequently, it has the ballistic missile capacity to launch weapons of substantial size and intercontinental range against us, or to orbit satellites above us.

So troubling is this capability — in the hands of either Iran or North Korea— that nine years ago, based on the ability of North Korea’s Taepodong missile to carry a nuclear warhead to intercontinental range, the current secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, and a prominent former secretary, William Perry, urged in a 2006 oped a pre-emptive strike against the then-new North Korean long-range missiles on their launch pads. As the two secretaries put it then, “Intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.” Their view was that our ballistic missile defense capabilities were unproven and should not be relied upon for such an important task. “Diplomacy has failed,” they said, “And we cannot sit by.”

Third, Iran now is either very close to being able to field a nuclear weapon or it should be regarded as already having that capability. As William Graham, who served as President Reagan’s science adviser, administrator of NASA and chairman of the Congressional EMP Commission, as well as many of his distinguished colleagues, such as Henry Cooper, who was director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, have put it:

“Regardless of intelligence uncertainties and unknowns about Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, we know enough now to make a prudent judgment that Iran should be regarded by national security decision makers as a nuclear missile state capable of posing an existential threat to the United States and its allies.”
Iran’s progress toward having a nuclear weapon that can be orbited or delivered by a long-range missile will not be halted by the concession-rich compromises proposed by the administration’s arms control negotiators in Geneva. North Korea already has this capability. As it appears now, Iran will have it before long. What are the consequences for our vulnerability to these two rogue states?

The new factor that makes one or a few nuclear warhead-carrying missiles launched into orbit much more dangerous than during the Cold War is the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against the critical infrastructures that are the foundation of modern societies, especially the national electric grid. Electronics are increasingly vulnerable to EMP — more than a million times more vulnerable (and, yes, also much more capable) than they were at the dawn of the age of modern electronics a half-century ago. Moore’s Law has not been kind to our electronic vulnerabilities.

Consequently, even one nuclear warhead detonated at orbital altitude over the United States would black out the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for months or years by means of the electromagnetic pulse it would create. The Congressional EMP Commission assessed that a nationwide blackout lasting one year could kill nine of 10 Americans through starvation and societal collapse. Islamic State-like gangs would rule the streets.

Just such a scenario is described in Iranian military documents.

Thus, once Iran has a nuclear weapon, even a primitive one, with a small number of long-range missiles it can use an EMP attack to threaten our survival as a nation and, indeed, the existence of modern society. If a nuclear Iran decided that we were, literally, (and not just as the target of a Persian religious expletive) “the Great Satan,” it might decide that we should meet Satan’s fate.

The advice given President George W. Bush by the two secretaries of defense nine years ago with respect to striking North Korea may turn out to be advice to which President Obama should give heed for one or both of these rogue states.

But just on the chance that a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s strategic capabilities has somehow not found its way onto the chart of options now being discussed these days in the Oval Office, at a minimum the United States needs to protect, now, its electric grid and other critical infrastructures from EMP by passing the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act and the Shield Act. These would at least let us begin to take some key and affordable steps toward hardening the electric grid.

These bills gathering dust in Congress for years without presidential support or interest, mark a new low in the failure of the White House and Congress to fulfill their security responsibilities to the nation. Their continued failure could be the most fateful government dereliction of duty in history.

R. James Woolsey is a former director of central intelligence and is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the EMP Task Force, and served in the EMP Commission, the Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee and the CIA.

3)Will Orlando Change Anything?
By Thomas Sowell

However great the shock of the massacre in Orlando, it is only a matter of time before we start hearing again the fact-free dogma that "diversity is our strength."

If there is any place in the Guinness Book of World Records for words repeated the most often, over the most years, without one speck of evidence, "diversity" should be a prime candidate.

Is diversity our strength? Or anybody's strength, anywhere in the world? Does Japan's homogeneous population cause the Japanese to suffer? Have the Balkans been blessed by their heterogeneity -- or does the very word "Balkanization" remind us of centuries of strife, bloodshed and unspeakable atrocities, extending into our own times?
Has Europe become a safer place after importing vast numbers of people from the Middle East, with cultures hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization?

"When in Rome do as the Romans do" was once a common saying. Today, after generations in the West have been indoctrinated with the rhetoric of multiculturalism, the borders of Western nations on both sides of the Atlantic have been thrown open to people who think it is their prerogative to come as refugees and tell the Romans what to do -- and to assault those who don't knuckle under to foreign religious standards.

The recent wave of refugees flooding into Europe include Muslim men who have been haranguing European women on the streets for not dressing modestly enough, not to mention their sexual molestation of those women.

Smug elites in Europe, like their counterparts in America, are not nearly as concerned about such things as they are about preventing "Islamophobia." Legal restrictions on free speech in some European countries make it a crime to sound the alarm about the dangers to the culture and to the people.

In the lofty circles of those who see themselves as citizens of the world, it is considered unworthy, if not hateful, to insist on living according to your own Western values or to resist importing people who increase your chances of being killed.

But if you don't have the instinct for self-preservation, it will not matter much in the long run whatever else you may have.

America's great good fortune in the past has been that Americans have been able to unite as Americans against every enemy, despite our own internal differences and struggles. Black and white, Jew and Gentile, have fought and died for this country in every war.

It has not been our diversity, but our ability to overcome the problems inherent in diversity, and to act together as Americans, that has been our strength.

In both World War I and World War II, the top commander of American troops who went into combat against the German army was of German ancestry -- Pershing and Eisenhower, respectively. So too was General Carl Spaatz, whose bombers reduced German cities to rubble. Whatever their backgrounds, they were Americans when the chips were down.

Today, that sense of American unity is being undermined by the reckless polarization of group identity politics. That affects not only how Americans see themselves, but how others in our midst see America.

Some people demand American citizenship, as if it is an entitlement, while burning the American flag and waving the flag of Mexico. And the apostles of "diversity" and "multiculturalism" watch in silence. That includes the President of the United States.

Probably most people in most groups are decent. But if 85 percent of the people in Group A present no serious problems and 95 percent of the people in Group B present no serious problems, that means you can expect three times as many serious problems when you admit immigrants from Group A.

Unfortunately, there is remarkably little interest in the relevant facts about crime rates, disease rates, welfare dependency or educational deficiencies among immigrants from specific countries. Most debates about immigration policies are contests in rhetoric, with hard facts being ignored as if they didn't exist.

Tragically, the massacre in Orlando seems unlikely to change that. Too many people have too much invested in their own particular position to change, especially in an election year.

3a)What If the Orlando Murderer Were a Christian?
By Dennis Prgaer

Many people are surely asking, "What if the gunman from the Orlando, Florida shooting were a Christian?"

Why? Because little would be said by the mainstream media and leading Democratic politicians -- from the president on down -- if the murderer were an anti-gay Christian.

The most obvious difference is that the media and the Democrats would have blamed Christians for the mass slaughter, whereas they do everything in their power to exonerate Muslims. Indeed, as many have noted, President Obama and the entire Democratic Party leadership have long refused to even use the terms "radical Islam" or "radical Islamists."

So let's imagine that a gay-hating Christian murdered 49 people and badly injured 53 others in the gay nightclub in Florida. America would be inundated with attacks on religion, Christians, Christianity and the Bible.

This is not theoretical speculation. For example, the mainstream media and other voices on the left regularly cite one family -- literally one family, the Phelps family -- in order to demonstrate how "homophobic" conservative Christians are. Fred Phelps started the Westboro Baptist Church, which has fewer than 40 members, most of which are nine of Phelps' 13 children and some of their children and grandchildren. This gay-hating, Jew-hating, Catholic-hating family represents no group, no ideology and no religion, and is regularly denounced by every Christian denomination, including conservative evangelicals.

Nevertheless, Westboro is frequently cited by the media and LGBT groups as if it represents conservative Christians.

Now, imagine if the nightclub murderer were a Christian who was unaffiliated with the Phelps family. We would be inundated with commentary on the dangers posed by the religious right, fundamentalist Christians, etc.

There are two reasons this is so significant.

First, the left has been waging a war against Christianity. Writers on the left deny and mock this notion, which only illustrates a lack of intellectual honesty.

Why, for example, have companies throughout America felt it necessary to rename Christmas parties "holiday parties"? What holiday other than Christmas is celebrated at these parties? Surely not New Year's Eve. Such parties are always called New Year's Eve parties. And not Hanukkah, because Jewish groups have Hanukkah parties.

Furthermore, since Karl Marx, the left -- not traditional liberals but the left -- everywhere has opposed Christianity. Leftism is a secular religion. And wherever traditional Christianity (or traditional Judaism) is strong, the left understands that it cannot vanquish society. In Europe, leftism has been almost wholly successful in supplanting Christianity. The one exception is Latin America, where the left has worked to remake Christianity in its image through "liberation theology," which is essentially Marxism with Christ.

Thus, if the Orlando nightclub shooter were a Christian, that is almost all we would hear about. After all, the left has labeled mass murderers who have no affiliation with Christianity as Christian -- Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, is one example.

The second reason the left would be preoccupied with attacking Christianity would be to help it maintain the fiction that Islam is "a religion of peace."

Islam has never been a religion of peace. It began as a warlike religion, and throughout its history, whenever possible, Muslims made war on non-Muslims, from the polytheists of North Africa to the Hindus of India. A reported 60 to 80 million Indians were killed by Muslim invaders during the hundreds of years of Muslim rule there.

So, while the left would emphasize a murderer's Christian faith, it denies that Islam plays any role in the vast amount murder, torture, enslavement, female genital mutilation, unparalleled subjugation of women and rape committed by people of the Islamic faith. Virtually every American and European student learns of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Christian West's role in slavery, but nothing of Muslims' centuries of mass slaughter and vast enslavement of Europeans and Africans.

Why? Because the truth about Muslims' historical record of violence would shine a light on the Christian West's far-superior moral record. So the left employs a dual-sided tactic: portraying Islam as benign and Christianity as malicious.

I am writing this column in Rome, where I'm staying at a hotel located one block from the American embassy. The embassy is draped in an enormous gay liberation flag.

Three questions come to mind:

Why does the embassy have such a flag? Does it have any other giant flag besides the American flag on hand?

Are all embassies currently draped in this flag? For example, are the American embassies in Muslim countries draped in it?

My third and most relevant question is: Had a Muslim targeted and murdered scores of Christians, would any American embassy anywhere in the world be draped in a flag depicting the Christian cross? In fact, in light of the one and only ongoing genocide in the world, that of Christians in the Middle East by certain Muslim groups, why aren't American embassies draped with a flag bearing a cross?

We all know the answer.

Christians must be portrayed as villains, not victims.

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