PowwerLine -> Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi + The Fusion collusion
PowwerLine -> Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi + The Fusion collusion
- Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi
- The European Revolt Continues
- Mapping the massacre
- The Fusion collusion
- The Ken Burns version, cont’d
|Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi
Posted: 21 Oct 2017 04:30 PM PDT
The Frederica Wilson affair may finally be waning. President Trump’s critics are reduced to noting that, at an event celebrating fallen FBI agents, the wannabe “rock star” didn’t grandstand by claiming credit for funding the building named after the heroes, as Gen. Kelly remembered. Instead, she grandstanded by claiming credit for getting the building named for them.
The anti-Trumpers need to take a piece out of Kelly because he is able to speak up effectively for President Trump. Thus, as Charles Blow of the New York Times says, Kelly is “VERY dangerous.” Whether they can accomplish this based on Kelly’s confusion over the precise nature of Wilson’s grandstanding is another matter. It seems to me that President Trump and his chief of staff won this round decisively.
The next round likely will be fought over the ambush in Niger that resulted in the deaths that produced the ridiculous controversy over Trump’s phone call. The anti-Trumpers hope to spin the ambush as Trump’s Benghazi. A guy from USA Today (I think it was) floated this idea on Fox News’ Special Report. (He was in Charles Krauthammer’s seat. Get well soon, Charles). So, inevitably, did the ridiculous Frederica Wilson.
There is more substance to the ambush than there is to Trump’s phone call. Four Americans died and at least two reportedly were badly injured, so the matter is serious. From all that appear so far, however, the Niger ambush presents no promising lines of attack on Trump.
There are two issues here: the sending of troops to Niger and the ambush itself.
President Obama sent a few hundred U.S. troops to Niger to help that country’s government combat ISIS. President Trump added a few hundred troops to the U.S. force.
I have no view on whether sending troops to Niger was a good idea. But it was a bipartisan one. I don’t see how Democrats get any mileage out of our involvement there.
Ambushes are a fact of life. If enough troops go on enough missions, some will be ambushed. Thus, an ambush bears no resemblance to an attack on a U.S. embassy that results in the killing of a U.S. ambassador. Thankfully, decades go by without that happening.
I don’t mean to say the Niger ambush couldn’t have been prevented with better intelligence gathering and/or decision-making. I have no idea whether it could have been.
If the ambush can be attributed to faulty intelligence and/or bad decisions on the ground, that’s clearly a matter of concern. However, culpability would likely reside with commanders and/or intelligence officers in Africa. It’s difficult to believe that the president, the Secretary of Defense, top generals at the Pentagon, or top CIA officials were involved in any way that would attach blame to them.
One can imagine scenarios in which the Niger ambush might resemble Benghazi. If President Trump or Secretary Mattis received urgent pleas from folks on the ground that this type of mission was too dangerous, this would hark back to the warnings sent to Hillary Clinton about the need to beef up security at the consulate in Benghazi.
If following the ambush, advisers to Trump and/or Mattis made materially false claims about who or what was responsible for the ambush, this would parallel the false claims by Team Obama that the Benghazi attacks were the result of a video, rather than terrorism. But, to my knowledge, Trump’s team has not made such false claims. Everyone seems to agree that the ambush was carried out by ISIS in the Greater Sahara.
Attempting to gain political mileage from the Niger ambush strikes me as the worst kind of political ambulance chasing. Neither political party is above this practice, but the Democrats seem to pursue it more aggressively, or at least less meritoriously, perhaps because they know the mainstream media will back them in this enterprise.
|The European Revolt Continues
Posted: 21 Oct 2017 03:20 PM PDT
The Czech Republic’s parliamentary election represented yet another rebellion against Europe’s political elites. The winning party, ANO, is considered centrist and won nearly 30% of the vote. Its leader, Andrej Babis, is a billionaire and has been described as a Czech Donald Trump. The Associated Press reports:
The Pirate Party finished third in the voting, which should tell us something. Expressing the condescending attitude that voters across Europe are rejecting, the AP tells us that “Some [parties] have exploited fears of immigration and Islam….” Of course, immigration can never be a legitimate issue, rather it is simply a matter of “exploiting fears.” But immigration skepticism is a majority view: “Like most Czech parties, ANO also rejects accepting refugees under the EU’s quota system.”
A second story, this one from Germany, illustrates what so many Europeans are rebelling against Germany: Full Censorship Now Official.
We all know where employees of social media companies are most likely to detect “libel” or “incitement,” especially when they are trying to avoid a 50 million euro fine. A recent case illustrates what the German government has in mind:
Europeans can’t revolt fast enough, or thoroughly enough.
|Mapping the massacre
Posted: 21 Oct 2017 08:05 AM PDT
A New York Times team including Malachy Browne, Drew Jordan, Nicole Fineman and Chris Cirillo has produced a video that maps a timeline of the Las Vegas massacre: “The shots began at 10:05. Twelve bursts of gunfire later, police broke down Stephen Paddock’s door at the Mandalay Bay. Using forensic analysis, The Times mapped 30 videos that show a vivid picture of what happened that night.” The Times has posted the video here and also made the video embeddable. I have posted it below.
The Times does not specifically address the controversy surrounding the alterations in the timeline regarding Jesus Campos. Rather, the video maps his activity in the corridor during the massacre.
We remain far from a definitive account of the massacre. It remains a riddle wrapped inside an enigma.
|The Fusion collusion
Posted: 21 Oct 2017 06:51 AM PDT
If we were ever to get to the bottom of actual collusion in the course of the 2016 election, it would be that of the Democrats with the Fusion GPS smear outfit. Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal column updates the story of the appearance of two Fusion GPS principals before the House Intelligence Committee. In “The case of Fusion GPS,” I noted the intention of company witnesses to claim the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to maintain their silence. They refuse to tell the committee who paid for the infamous Trump Dossier or whom their clients were. Kim now reports that they proceeded to do just that on Thursday. In the heart of her column Kim explains:
You’d think all this would be big news in the context of the hysteria over alleged collusion of the Trump campaign with the Russian. A special counsel with a virtually unlimited mandate to torment President Trump, his family and his associates past and present have left the Fusion GPS/Trump Dossier matter untouched. The hysteria over alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia appears to be little more than a pretext for the Mueller operation.
NOTE: Mollie Hemingway has much more here.
|The Ken Burns version, cont’d
Posted: 21 Oct 2017 06:20 AM PDT
I watched all 18 hours of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick/Geoffrey Ward documentary The Vietnam War. Ten years in the making, it draws on enormous resources to fix our history in falsity. It seeks to endow the war as portrayed by the antiwar left with the status of the authorized version. A credulous consumer of the antiwar literature of the era, I began to get a clue around about the time the NVA had its tanks rolling toward Saigon in 1975. Burns affords us access to views expressed by our Vietnam vets featured in the documentary ranging all the way from A to B.
Burns, of course, has the suffocating cultural apparatus of the left to support his documentary. Today’s Star Tribune, for example, includes an article on documentary producer Lynn Novick’s appearance with featured documentary talking head Tim O’Brien at Macalester College. Who has the will or knowledge to “resist”? Operating in good Orwellian fashion, the Burns crew seeks to control the future by controlling the past and demonstrate that those who control the present control the past.
Knowledgeable students of the war have begun to talk back. The purpose of this series has been to draw attention to their work. Stephen Morris’s Weekly Standard essay “The bad war” makes an important contribution, as does the two-part essay by Mac Owens that I noted here earlier this week. I quoted Yale’s Professor Charles Hill’s unamused view of the Ken Burns version here. In his ten years working on the documentary Burns somehow never got around to interviewing a vet like Minneapolis attorney Tim Kelly, who speaks for the many expressing simple pride in their service. I quoted Tim in my “Notes on the Ken Burns version.”
City Journal has now posted Mark Moyar’s essay “A warped mirror.” Moyar is a leading scholar of the war. Despite the documentary’s pretense to fairness and detachment, Moyar finds that it “promote[s] an agenda, in ways glaringly obvious to veterans though not readily apparent to those too young to have lived through the war. Burns and Novick wish to show that America fought a war that was unnecessary and unwinnable, and that it did so out of national hubris.” Moyar’s essay embeds useful links (such as this one to John Del Vecchio’s critique) and adds valuable perspective to the literature on the documentary.