The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

Alea iacta est! The die is cast, the  Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

 “When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”
– ― Euripides, Orestes

“Just as every cop is a criminal,And all the sinners saints”.. - Mick Jagger,’Sympathy For The Devil’

“Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.” -President Barack Hussein Obama, talking about the IRS scandal with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, February 3rd, 2014

We had a tie this week in the Council category which I, as Watcher have to break.

There were a few entries in both categories this week on the IRS’ convenient inability to produce former IRS apparatchnik Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Right Planet’s About That ‘Server Ate My Emails’ Thing is a detailed and authoritative roundup by someone who knows what he’s talking about on exactly why this is so much horse manure on their part, and as someone else said, an excellent indication that congress is looking in exactly the right place to get to the bottom of this disgusting scandal.

It’s a much meatier effort than its competitor, Joshuapundit’s-How The Palestinians And The Left Are Celebrating The Israeli Kidnappings which is pretty about what it sounds like..the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians celebrating inhumanity and the West’s despicable apathy towards the kidnapping of three Israeli teen by Hamas, even as rockets continue to be launched by a member of the new unity government everyone’s touting at Israel’s civilians. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, same old same old.

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In any event, the winner, About That ‘Server Ate My Emails’ Thing was very easy to pick, to say the least! Here’s a slice:

A brief overview of the IRS targeting scandal by Bill Still:

For those of us who have experienced life in the IT trenches, former IRS chief Lois Lerner’s claim she lost all of her emails due to a hard-drive crash is a bit hard to swallow, to say the least.

First, email is not typically stored on a personal computer’s hard-drive disk (HDD). Email accounts for most organizations are stored and accessed on a mail server—a separate computer accessed from the user’s computer via a specific network protocol like SMTP, POP3, IMAP, MAPI, HTTP, etc. Mail servers can host multiple email accounts, and typically do. That’s their purpose.

Peter Sulderman, writing at Reason.com, sums it up like this:

The loss of a personal computer hard drive shouldn’t be able to permanently eliminate emails from a well-run workplace email system. Those emails are run through central email exchange servers, and backups are typically kept using those central exchanges. Add to that Lerner’s prominence in the investigation—she has repeatedly declined to answer questions before Congress, invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate—and the year it took for the IRS to inform the House Ways and Means Committee that the emails were lost in a crash, and the dog-ate-my-emails bit starts to smell rather fishy.

Is the IRS really claiming both the IRS’ mail server and Lois Lerner’s local hard-drive crashed? If the server’s hard-drive failed, that would mean email for everyone within the organization who had an account on that particular mail server would not be able to access their email accounts. Email still being sent from other email accounts on the same mail server that hosted Lois Lerner’s account, and during the same time period that Lerner claims her hard-drive crashed, would indicate the mail server was still operational, despite any misfortune that befell Lerner’s local hard-drive.

System engineers who administer mail servers at the enterprise level will typically strictly follow (and continuously develop) a robust backup plan for all data on mission-critical servers. For most organizations email communication is absolutely essential, if not critical. So, any critical IRS system failures that resulted in long-term outages could potentially create havoc, thus the need to have a comprehensive and redundant backup plan.

Tax software can be extremely complex (thanks to our god-awful progressive tax laws), and must interface with many complex IRS software systems and services. So, don’t tell me the IRS does not have some competent IT staff that can keep their email domains up and running, and their data backed up, according to their own rules and regulations for the retention of data, as prescribed by law.

Powerline reports:

… U.S. law, specifically 44 U.S.C. Chapter 33, requires that agencies must notify the Archivist of any records that are destroyed and the reasons for destroying them. In addition, federal regulations establish strict recoverability and redundancy requirements. Disposal of records outside these standards requires permission in writing.

The IRS satisfies these requirements through Microsoft Outlook/Exchange systems, which are backed up using Symantec NetBackup. According to the IT specialist, IRS had some of the best people in the federal government charged with making sure these systems work as intended.

Microsoft recommends configuring redundant relational databases (RDMS) with Microsoft Exchange Server. The RDMS (relational database management system) stores and accesses all the email text and metadata housed on the server. Even if the hard-drive(s) fail, the email data is still intact in backup databases. Once a new hard-drive is installed, and the operating system and email server are configured, the data from the replicated databases can be imported into the newly configured mail server.

Many computers nowadays running mail, web, application and database servers run high RAID levels—meaning, the computer (server) has multiple hard-drives that run as backups in case the boot drive fails.

RedState.com reports:

Data retention has been a requirement for years. It is a solved problem. It is simply not credible that IRS, an agency that itself imposes data retention requirements on the general public, would not have a data retention plan, with offsite backups and a generalized disaster recovery framework. Somebody is lying when it comes to Lois Lerner’s “missing emails,” and if this were going on in the private sector, somebody would be at risk of prison.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was the one and only Mark Steyn with a great piece on th ee-mails in his own inimitable style, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ E-Mails submitted by The Noisy Room. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Watcher’s Council Nominations: Amnesty By Stealth Edition

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

Up For Grabs

Our esteemed Council member Elise at Liberty’s Spirit has decided to take a long hiatus from blogging and is leaving the group. It has certainly been great having her aboard and all of us wish her the best in her future endeavors.

That does mean, however, that we have a seat on the Council up for grabs. If you think you might be interested or want further details on what’s involved, please leave a comment under any story on Joshuapundit complete with your e-mail address (which won’t be published, of course) for consideration.

The Council In Action!!

* Tom White at VA Right was interviewed and featured in the Columbia Journalism Review focusing on his knowledge and correct call of the defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia by Dave Brat. Good stuff!

* Debra Heine of Nice Deb has an interesting new piece up at Breitbart concerning a One Million Dollar IRS Bounty Offered For Info Leading to White House..by one of the conservative groups that was targeted and victimized.

This week, The MidKnight Review, Sarah Honig and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor  by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Forum: If Abortion On Demand Is Both Legal And Constitutional, Why Not Suicide And Euthanasia ?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:  If Abortion On Demand Is Both Legal And Constitutional, Why Not Suicide And Euthanasia ?

Virginia Right!: Or why children of illegals who were brought here through no fault of their own deserve amnesty and not unborn babies who are here through no fault of their own.

The Independent Sentinel: Why stop with abortion- it’s only a matter of geography – why not kill them after they’re born if we’re not happy with the results. Actually, hasn’t that been suggested by one of the loons Obama surrounds himself with?

Bookworm Room: Abortion on demand is legal because those who support it can argue, less and less convincingly as prenatal care and imaging advance, that a fetus is not a person. That’s a difficult argument to make about either depressed or sick people. They may not be enjoying themselves, but they’re standing there before you, large as life and twice as natural. When we seem them, we recognize their inherent vitality, a vitality that ought not to be destroyed either by what one hopes is only a transient depression or an illness (even a fatal one) that can be managed humanely.

Peter Singer — who holds an endowed ethics chair at Princeton — thinks parents should have a month after the child’s birth within which to decide to euthanize it because it’s defective. As you can imagine, the disability rights people loath him. He’s also the guy who founded the radical animal rights movement. PETA isn’t his organization, but it’s his brain child. He ran afoul of animal rights activists, though, when he said bestiality was ethically acceptable provided the animal consents. The PETA crowd said that cows can’t give consent, so it’s always rape. Did I mention that he has an endowed chair at Princeton?

As for the post-birth abortion, a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida said that it was up to a woman and her doctor whether she wanted to “abort” the baby after it was born.

It’s views such as these that have pushed me away from being pro-choice. There’s something very ugly going on there. Garden-variety pro-choice people should really look at the movement’s core and wonder whether they’re celebrating choice or death.

Simply Jews : Why, if we base our decisions on that old joke that a Jewish embryo isn’t considered a person before he/she gets a law or medicine degree, we could expand the Singer’s proposal a bit further.

Jokes aside, when I was reading this, the professor’s ideas combined with his attitude to bestiality gave me a few ideas about the professor’s immediate future that I would loath to air in this group. Not in writing anyway.

And another corollary: the case of prof Singer, like many other sadly similar cases in the academic circles cause me a grave concern about the future of our higher education and, as a result, about our future in general. I am saying “our”, because here the status is very similar.

Princeton… someone should clean up these places, or we all are in big trouble.


The Razor: First of all I do not agree that abortion is Constitutional. My view is that it was a clear-cut case of judicial overreach.

Although I am personally and very (I might add) Pro-Life I still maintain a pro-choice stance simply because I believe Law is too blunt an instrument for cases such as these that require more of a scalpel. Is abortion murder? I believe like most Americans that within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it’s not. But you get into the second trimester and especially the third, and it clearly becomes murder. Suicide is clearly murder, but should a person be charged with a crime for having attempted it? Nope because who would the State be acting on behalf of? Who is the injured party in such an instance? The State has too much power already; to intrude on a person’s decision to kill himself or herself simply strikes me as a greater intrusion than when it interferes with abortion. As for euthanasia, it should be made available to those whose condition is terminally ill. What has been happening in the Netherlands stretches the definition of “terminally ill” to include mental illness which is going too far.

No one ever says that these questions are easy. If they do then something is wrong with them. But as moral human beings we need to consider them and question our beliefs if only to avoid the slippery slope rightly feared by many. But the existence of such a slope should not empower the State nor should it increase needless suffering.

But ask me next week. Perhaps my opinion will change.

 JoshuaPundit: Actually, to answer the question directly,  we’re already there to some degree. Euthanasia is already legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and up for serious consideration in most of the EU, and assisted suicide is legal in the States of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana as well as in the countries of Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia and Japan. And again, there are many more jurisdictions considering it and I have no doubt that the list will be longer by this time next year.And there’s no reason it shouldn’t be. After all, if life ends in the womb or years later in a discreet medical facility after a few papers get signed, what’s the diff? One less mouth to feed, one less file to process. Next please!

What I’m going to write next invites ridicule, which is fine. But some of you may want to mull it over.

Western culture has always prided itself on its freedoms, but the chief impetus for them has always been a recognition that the individual is important, and that freedom itself is a gift to be passed on to future generations. Our culture has changed to the point where these two principles have become something that gets mouthed frequently, but is less and less nonored in practice. What our culture has embraced instead is an anti-life stance, where the individual is dispensable and future generations don’t matter as opposed to the all important gratification of the NOW.Even though many people still hold to the realizations and principles behind the west’s freedoms, many of our leaders, educators and those who run what E.J. Terrell Jr. once called the Kultursmog do not.

I am by no means a person who says that abortion is always wrong in all situations. But we now have made abortion on demand a modern sacrament, a holy writ not to be challenged no matter what. Why shouldn’t euthanasia and assisted suicide be next on the list, along with all the other ‘changes’ we’ve embraced, or at least allowed?

We now have a leader who is a fierce advocate for actual infanticide. A mere thirty or forty years ago someone with this view would have been shunned and run out of public life. Many countries in the West are not even reproducing at replacement rates, the very definition of marriage is in the process of being dismantled, and the killing of a child because the kid was merely inconvenient is the subject of a ‘comedy’ now getting rave reviews in the usual places.

I regard that as decadent and unholy. There are really no other words for it.

America has been, in my view at least, the beneficiary of G-d’s providence in many ways. I can’t help but wonder if what we’re embracing now is going to change that.

The Glittering Eye : If that were the law, I don’t think there is a coherent principle opposing them. However, it’s not the law. The law is actually mischievous since making the state’s interest in the lives of the unborn contingent on an imaginary point of viability encourages those who oppose abortion on principle to seek to capitalize on the state’s interest and those who support abortion on demand on principle to make the imagined rights pre-viability absolute. A continuing, zero-sum conflict.

On top of that existing law is bad public policy unless you believe that we need a lot fewer people with educations and jobs and a lot more people without either one. The problem, of course, is that the coherent public policy positions (abortion on demand paid by the state on the one hand and sweeping restrictions on abortion on the other) are each anathema to a substantial chunk of the population. So we’re left with incoherent, bad public policy.

Ask Marion: Americans like to see themselves as the most compassionate people on the planet, rescuers of the downtrodden and the heroes that ride in on the white horses to save people, cultures and nations around the world… and sometimes we do and have.

But as a nation we have virtually all accepted the reality of abortion on some level, just like animal lovers have accepted our cruel system for euthanizing more healthy pets every year than any other country in the world. All God’s creatures:

In 2008 we had the choice and opportunity to vote for an all (rather radical) pro-choice ticket, Obama-Biden or a ticket with a fence straddler worried about the vote and a offending anyone, McCain, paired up with a strong pro-life candidate, who had walked the walk, Palin. We elected the radicals twice.

Abortion -> On The Ground At March For Life 2014 – New Poll: 62% of Americans Now Believe Abortion is Morally Wrong and most Pro-Choice advocates don’t even know Planned Parenthood’s Roots or who Margaret Sanger was… an absolute believer in abortion, euthanasia and eugenics. And since President Obama took office, who as Senator voted for partial birth abortions and not giving aid, care or even comfort to tiny babies who survive abortion procedure. See Gary Bauer: ‘More Babies Have Been Aborted Than Jobs Have Been Created’ Under Obama.

Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 7.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and additional 1 million more have been added to that number or just abandoned since the economic downturn in 2009. Only about 30% are reclaimed and approximately 2.7 million animals are adopted (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).

And over 1,200 Military Dogs have been put down by the Obama Regime.

Eating dogs was bad enough. Killing over 1,200 faithful military dogs who were protecting American troops in Afghanistan is worse:

The heroic service dogs were euthanized because they were deemed too “dangerous” for civilian adoption or jobs with law enforcement agencies, as well as for medical reasons according to U.S. Air Force reports given to Congress.

The dogs were used as guards and to sniff out terrorist bombs.

It’s not as if no homes could be found:

Currently more than 300 people are waiting to adopt a military dog, with an average waiting time of 18 months.

Betraying those who loyally served in Afghanistan and Iraq has been characteristic of the current administration. And if you actually believe that they care more about our two legged Veterans than they do about the 4-legged ones… then Houston… we have a problem. All but 1 of the Michael Vick fighting dogs were able to be rehabbed and re-homed… and none had problems. Everyone of these military canines deserved better!!

Obamaland radical crazies… just a few of the present and former Czars… advisers, cabinet members:

Kathleen Sebelius.Remember, Sebilius was an ardent supporter of murdered partial birth abortionist Tiller, and her extreme record on abortion has sadly been ignored (or hidden) by the media.

Science Czar John P. Holdren – Updated 9.2.09 He Advocated de-developing the US to a world of zero growth, says the Constitution backs compulsory Abortion and believes we should seize babies born to unwed women

Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Regulatory Czar advocated removing people’s organs without explicit consent.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel’s brother and his Complete Lives System, who believes we should deny coverage to the elderly an disabled ‘for the Greater Good’

Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Death Panels… are all part of, or will be the result of ObamaCare!!

If we do not get rid of ObamaCare and the hold the Progressives have on our government… the death panels are already here. (remember when they called Sarah Palin crazy?, now people like Howard Dean have admitted she was right) A committee of non-medical professionals will make the decisions of who gets what treatments and medications, if any. They will decide against the old… the useless eaters as they call them; the mentally and physically disabled, including Veterans (Is there really an doubt after what we have seen at Veteran’s Affairs over the past few months:); and then anyone else they have no use for. And as the money and help dries up for those afflicted with or caring for people with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia, PTSD, etc etc (all on the rise) and no help is available, the cries for assisted suicide or euthanasia will become louder… the benevolent left… will say YES!

And for the record: Rockefeller Soft Kill Depopulation Plans Exposed. Both Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates have spoken on depopulation. And you can bet it won’t be them or their families!

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Personally feel it will be in the next few years.

  Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.” - President Thomas Jefferson

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” – Sigmund Freud

“An armed society is a polite society.” – Robert Heinlein

 “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.” – George Orwell

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This week’s winner, Bookworm Room’sBookworm’s 5 Point Gun Manifesto: Or Why I believe in Gun Rights spells out oh so clearly why without the Second Amendment all the others are meaningless. Here’s a slice:

I. INTRODUCTION

God forgive me, but I used to be so anti-gun that I donated to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. I know. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Since that time, I’ve done a complete 180 and become a fervent gun supporter and a proud member of the NRA.

This change did not come about because I suddenly became a psychopathic killer, with guns as my weapon of choice. I do kill (spiders, fleas, and ticks) and I do eat dead bodies (cows, pigs, chicken, and fish), but I’m scarcely Hannibal Lecter.

Instead, my reversal on guns came about because I realized that gun’s are a predicate requirement for individual freedom and security. I’ve created five principles that justify this conclusion. These principles are: (1) Individuals bearing guns are the best defense against the world’s most dangerous killer: government; (2) I am a Jew; (3) I am not a racist; (4) a self-defended society is a safe society; and (5) the only way gun-control activists can support their position is to lie.

I develop each of these principles below.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Individuals Bearing Arms Are The Best Defense Against The World’s Most Dangerous Killer: Government.

1. DemProgs fear small digit murders by individuals; Second Amendment supporters fear murders in the millions by governments.

a. Mad or predatory individuals, ideologically motivated groups, and mean or careless corporations have never succeeded in using guns to achieve more than a few thousand deaths in any individual act.

DemProgs and conservatives alike share the same concerns: they don’t want killers to have guns. It’s just that DemProgs haven’t quite figured out who the real killers are. Their obsessive focus is on individuals and corporations. Let’s humor their fears and look at number of deaths those particular killers have achieved, beginning in the 20th century through to the present day.

Killers Without Guns:

The worst psychopathic individual mass murderer who did not use a gun: Gameel al-Batouti. On October 31, 1999, he cried out “Allahu Akbar” as he piloted a plane full of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 217 people.

The worst ideologically driven collective of mass murderers who did not use guns: The 19 al Qaeda members who, on September 11, 2001, used box cutters to hijack four planes, crashed those planes into three buildings and one into a field, and killed 2,996 people in a matter of hours.

The worst corporate mass murderer that did not use guns: In December 1984, the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, accidentally released toxic gas from its facility, killing 3,787 people.

CONCLUSION: When dedicated mass murderers use something other than guns, they’re able to achieve deaths that range from a few hundreds dead to a few thousand dead.

Killers With Guns:

The worst psychopathic individual mass murderer who did use a gun: Anders Behring Breivik who, on July 22, 2011, shot and killed 69 people in Norway – mostly teenagers. This rampage came after he’d already set off a bomb, killing 8 people. Norway has strict gun control.

The worst ideologically driven collective mass murderers who did use guns: Given Islamists’ tendency to use all weapons available to shoot as many people as possible in as many countries as they can, this is a tough one to call. I believe, though, that the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 is the largest ideologically driven mass murder that relied solely on guns. Throughout the city of Mumbai, Islamic terrorists engaged in a coordinated attack that killed 154 people. Even the unbelievably bloody and shocking mall shooting that al Shabaab staged in Kenya killed only 63 people.

The worst corporate mass murder that did use guns: I can’t find any. To the extent that numerous workers died in any given 19th century labor dispute, those deaths occurred because state government, siding with management, sent out the state’s militia to disperse the strikers. For example, in November 1887, in Thibodaux, Louisiana, the state militia killed between 35 and 300 black sugar plantation strikers. The 20th and 21st century did not offer such examples.

CONCLUSION
: When individual killers or small groups of killers rely on guns, their effectiveness is limited, compared to those who use planes or bombs. In addition, corporations (outside of crazed Hollywood movies) drop out of the running entirely.

It’s clear that both individuals (singularly and collectively) and corporations can kill. However, even when given optimal killing situations (e.g., acts of terrorism or corporate negligence), the numbers stay in the low thousands – and sink even further when guns are involved.

DemProgs could conceivably argue that, once you start adding up small killing events (a murder here, a murder there), you’re going to find a lot of dead bodies piled around you. For example, if one adds up America’s annual murder statistics from 1960 through 2012, the total number of Americans killed in those 52 years is 914,191. (This number encompasses all murders, not just those with guns, but we’ll still use it as the most extreme illustration of Americans’ alleged propensity to violence.)

If we then engaged in the risible pretense that these numbers were stable for all 233 years of America’s existence (900,000 murdered citizens per every 50 years), we could claim that citizens of the most murderous nation in history (which is how DemProgs view their own country) would have managed to achieve only around 4,000,000 murders in 233 years, using all weapons available.

Wow! 4,000,000 murders in 233 years! No wonder that DemProgs are so desperate to keep guns out of their fellow citizens’ hands. To them, Americans are stone-cold killers, wholly capable of killing almost a million of each other in just 50 years.

b. The serious killers in the last century haven’t been individuals or small groups. The serious killers have been governments acting against unarmed (usually disarmed) citizens.

Enough of the silly numbers! Let’s talk now about the real killers of the 20th and 21st centuries: Governments killing their own people or engaging in genocidal attacks against specifically selected religious, cultural, or racial groups – all of them unarmed and defenseless.

Much more of this must-read piece at the link

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn for The Unmaking of the American World submitted by Liberty’s Spirit. In it,he analyzes the psychological aspect of America’s retreat, and how the Left is bringing it about.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Simply Jews, still enjoying himself in Italy was unable to vote this week, and was not subject to the 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Watcher’s Council Nominations: The Search For The Lost E-mails Edition

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Oh, the thrills and adventure…here’s our heroine, Lois Lerner using the dreaded, deadly hashtag. That’ll show them congress critters!

After hearing from the IRS that Lerner’s emails for the past two years mysteriously died in a hard drive crash, one of those congress critters, Darrell Issa, subpoenaed Lerner’s entire hard drive.

The IRS has already replied, saying well,you know, it was just sitting there not doing anything and we believe one of the guys, we can’t remember exactly who, took it home to use it as a boat anchor. But that didn’t work so good because it was too light, and it was too heavy to be a decent fishing sinker. So if we remember right, the story was that he cut it loose and threw it overboard and as far as we know it’s somewhere at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay. Or it might have happened when he took his boat down river to Virginia, no one’s really sure. Anyway, it’s not here anymore. We regret that we can’t be of more help, really we do.

This,I believe is what our grandfathers would have referred to as a real fish story.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

This week’s contest is dedicated to kidnap victims Ya’akov Naftali (ben Rachel Devorah), Gilad Michael (ben Bat Galim), and Eyal (Ben Iris) Teshura. Please pray for their safe return.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

* VA Right’s Tom White is on quite a roll after being one of the few political writers if not th eonly one to correctly predict Eric Cantor’s demise in his native Virginia! He’s been cited numerous places, was the subject of a laudatory article by NewsMax and was interviewed by, among other places, the Washington Post and The Columbia Journalism Review, and we’ll definitely have those links for you once they’re up.Council Akbar!!

This week, The MidKnight Review, Right Truth, The Pirate’s Cove and Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor  by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

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Forum: Should The U.S. intervene in Iraq?


Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question
: Should The U.S. intervene in Iraq?

The Independent Sentinel: The U.S. must intervene in Iraq in a significant way. ISIS or ISIL will eventually attack the U.S. and they will attack Israel. Of that, there is no doubt.

United States intelligence intercepted a letter in 2005 written from Al-Zawahiri to the then-leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The letter outlined a four-stage plan to expand the war in Iraq: drive the Americans out, establish a caliphate in Bahgdad, use that base to attack other countries, and attack Israel –”because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.”

Stage three is to attack us. The United States is in extreme and direct danger from ISIS.

They could have been stopped at the border if we had intervened in a timely manner or if we had a residual force in Iraq.

It’s a very complicated matter. We are indirectly supporting these same people in Syria as they rampage through the country killing Christians – they are dispersed among the rebel forces and we are supplying them with arms and funds.

ISIS has joined up with moderate forces in Iraq. The moderates are people we would prefer not to alienate. They don’t want Sharia law or an Islamic caliphate but they hate Maliki more. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

No matter what we do, we will be firing on people we claim to support, but the bottom line is that we can’t let ISIS form an Islamic state.

Will President Obama do anything of any significance – unlikely. I hope I am proven wrong.

The Razor: Whenever a clear and present danger against our Republic materializes in that infernal sandpit, then yes we should intervene and crush it. But until that time arises, absolutely not.

 JoshuaPundit: No. Emphatically Hell No, with one possible exception.Send this guy:

Exactly what are we planning to accomplish there? The last time we got involved in Iraq, we took out a Sunni dictatorship that was the single counterpoint in the region to the Islamofacists in Iran and much to our allies in the region’s dismay, we put in a Shi’ite dictatorship with major ties to Iran in its place. We allowed the wholesale ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s Christians, sold out our only real allies in the region, the Kurds, and were finally able to extricate ourselves by bribing the Sunni chiefs in the Awakening Movement and lying to them about how Maliki was going to include them in his government as full and equal partners.

We lost over 4,400 U.S. troops there, spent at least a trillion dollars rebuilding their infrastructure, saved Iraq’s oil wells for the Chinese and spent billions building them an army. We got absolutely nothing for it, not even simple gratitude. Anyone familiar with  the old saying about throwing good money after bad?

ISIS,whom President Obama and his team helped arm, fund and train is now facing off with Iranian forces. Are we now going to commit the U.S. military to fighting on the same side as Hezbollah, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. the Badr Force and Basher Assad to keep an Iranian ally in power? And if we’re going there, are we going to aid these same forces in Syria as well to help Assad out? Anyone care to explain that pretzel logic to me?

What’s most likely going to happen here is a stalemate, now that the Iranians have come in. Baghdad will be the dividing line, and the Shi’ites will hold on to the Baghdad to Basra corridor and the southern oilfields while ISIS puts together its Sunni mini-caliphate in southern Syria and the rest of Iraq and the Kurds carve of the Kurdish areas of northeastern Iraq and eastern Syria just across the border as the independent Kurdistan they always should have had. In other words, an artificial country that never should have been one is dividing along its natural lines.

The bloodshed and horror will last for months, just as it has in Syria and there’s absolutely no reason for us to get involved, although President Obama might be stupid enough to aid Iran and the Shi’ite bloc by doing so.It would be a huge  mistake, just as it was sheer idiocy for Obama to go into Libya to save al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood from Khaddaffi, to champion the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to arm Islamists in Syria and to fund the terrorist alliance between Fatah and Hamas in ‘Palestine’.

The last time the Sunnis and Shi’ites went to war in the Persian Gulf, there were a million casualties,  both sides were too busy to bother us and ended up substantially weakened.As the Dark Lord Dick Cheney wisely said, “it’s a pity they can’t both lose.”

The majority of these countries are failed states, and most of them mean us no good. For that matter, there’s a failed state just east of Afghanistan that we’ve bribed with billions of dollars. If the rationale is that we’re going to knock off failed states with significant ties to Islamist terrorism just because, why not that one, which actually has an illegal nuclear weapons program already and has no love whatsoever for America? Obviously, playing that kind of  whack-a-mole is no strategy.

Our best bet (and hopefully this president will stumble into it through sheer incompetence) is to leave this strictly alone and let the two sides fight it out.

President Obama will not be able to do this at this point because no one in the region trusts him, but we would be far better off resetting our relationships with our allies in the region like Israel, Jordan and Egypt and synching their intel more with our own to monitor the situation.

Especially valuable (and again, President Obama would not be able to pull this off but we might try for it in the future) would be an alliance with the Kurds, who loved America because we protected them from Saddam during the no-fly-zone days and actually wanted us to put bases in their country until Bush 43 betrayed them. A strong independent Kurdistan would be a major U.S. asset, provided we could get win their trust again.

But another undeclared war with fuzzy objectives? No.

Liberty’s Spirit: Should the US intervene in Iraq? In a review of the situation in Iraq you cannot look at it without looking at the Middle East as a whole. The effects of inaction in one sphere of the Moslem world has reverberations throughout the region.

The rise of ISIS can be directly connected to the Cairo speech that Obama gave shortly after coming to office. When he gave succor to the Moslem Brotherhood, Obama paved the way for the legitimization of radical Islamist organizations. By Obama turning his back on the consistent American allies in the Arab world (granted they were mostly tyrants and oligarchs) he let it be known throughout the region that the US would not step in to help its allies and that they in fact would support Islamists in their attempt to take over Arab governments. Without a history of democracy in the Arab world, the naive western support for the Arab Spring, which overthrew the longtime American allies, paved the way for the control by Islamists in the region. In truth, the Obama administration sees these Islamist groups as the true voice of the Arab people and an outgrowth of western imperialism and colonialism. In righting what the Obama administration sees as western domination of a third world people the Obama administration has facilitated the rise of the Islamo-fascists. I predicted everything that is happening now in the Middle East years ago, as well as outlining the ineptness of the Obama foreign policy worldwide.

Obama has botched everything about Iraq from the day he came into office. When Obama took office, there was a modicum of organization and the beginnings of a new Iraqi nation. However, Obama was so intent on leaving Iraq that he pulled our troops out without securing the gains made by our soldiers. Obama abandoned the people of Iraq to the duplicitous Maliki government and the evil that is Iran. He basically paved the way for a Shiite-Iran alliance which alienated the Sunni population in the country.

Then Obama’s red-line in Syria was more of his machinations and complete inadequate understanding of the region. He allowed the Russians, who also join with Iran on the side of Assad, to come in and take over the “the good guy” position and lead the search for chemical weapons. (Of course, it has been proven to no thinking person’s surprise, that Assad has not destroyed his weapons of mass destruction) Now, by the time Obama actually thought to do anything on the side of the opposition, ISIS was the formidable opposition to the Assad-Iran regime. At that point there was no way that it made any sense for the US to take the side against Assad. Obama had his way and decided to just let the Syrian civil war play out on its own.

ISIS as it gained strength in Syria decided to branch out and saw an opening into Iraq. That this is an on-going battle between Sunni and Shiite Islam is true. But there is more at stake right now for the entire world. You have ISIS, which is backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, versus the Shiite government of Maliki, which is backed by Iran. It is a power play for the control of the Moslem world and in the end control of the vast oil reserves in that region. (Meanwhile, the Obama administrations refusal to support oil and energy independence for the US in a logical manner, adds to our frightening dependence on this volatile region of the world).

That the US is reaching out to Iran for help to stop ISIS is not unforeseen. The Obama administration has been trying to normalize Iran since they came to office. They see Iran as a true player in Middle Eastern politics despite their human rights abuses and support for world wide terrorism. The Obama administration sees Iran as a needed ingredient to be a hedge against the State of Israel, who they see as the real impediment to any stabilization in the Middle East. The question is what exactly is the Obama administration giving Iran for their help in Iraq? Iran has already won the race toward a nuclear bomb, the issue is how else has the Obama administration endangered the entire world through their ineptness and ignorance when dealing with the Messianic cult that is in charge of Iran?

Yes, in many ways Obama is between a rock and a hard place. But it is one of his own making. Unfortunately his lack of ability to engender respect will lead to loosing the entire Middle East to any idea of democracy and freedom. Islamo-fascists are on the march, not only in the Middle East but in Europe, Asia and South America. They are coming here to the US, if their terror cells are not here already. They have promised that they will come after the US and the west. When people threaten your existence it is wise to listen. History no doubt, shows that Jimmy Carter by losing Iran facilitated the beginnings of the rise of Islamo-fascism. Meanwhile, history will show that Obama and his politically correct minions, caused a World War in the end so that we can preserve our own liberty and freedom.

Now as for what the US should do now? Whatever Obama does, it is too little too late. Bombing ISIS will only help the Iranian regime, but leaving ISIS will embolden Islamists. Arm twisting the Qataris and Saudis to pull their support for ISIS will not work. They have no fear of Obama and are terrified of Iran. Sadly, no matter who controls this region in the end it does not bode well for the future for anyone.

 The Glittering Eye: It’s a tough call and I’m of mixed minds on it. Emotionally, I think we should since I think that under the circumstances which include invading their country and removing its government and not following through on post-withdrawal commitments we have a debt of honor. Rationally, I think we shouldn’t if for no other reason than that I am predisposed against intervention.

What I really think should happen is a public discussion about our actual interests in Iraq and in the region with the intention of quantifying those interests as a method of producing a cost-benefit analysis.

As it is I think people are producing tactics without a strategy or objectives. Let’s decide on the objectives first and then identify the tactics best-suited for accomplishing them.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD:1st off, this ISIS gang is the Artist formerly known As al Qaeda. That alone is reason enough to rain destruction on them and any enablers, actualizers or sympathizers – the hurt feelings of Sunnis be danged.

44 says he’s thinking it over

“The U.S. is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis.”

A political plan for Iraq is vital. Everything the administration has said about the sectarianism and mis-governance of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is true. Assistance to Iraq must include strong conditions to press Maliki to change his approach – or leave office.

Yet the Iraqis need vigorous and intelligent American involvement right now to prevent a stalemate that will leave ISIS in control of much of northern Iraq. That is an unacceptable outcome

We face a simple choice: We can either rejoin our demoralized Iraqi partners in the fight against ISIS or we can watch as this Al Qaeda franchise solidifies its control over several million Iraqis and Syrians, completes its plundering of military bases and continues to build up, train and equip an honest-to-goodness military.

Rejoining the fight means immediately sending air support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets; air transportation; Special Operations forces; training teams; and more military equipment back into Iraq. It does not mean re-invading Iraq.

Immediately sending air support and Special Forces to Mosul might shock ISIS and embolden the population enough to rout the jihadis from the city. But if it does not, the Iraqi Security Forces may well prove unable to regain Mosul on their own.

In that case, a small contingent of U.S. ground forces would be required.

Friday 44 ruled out putting boots on the ground. He has consistently dismissed critics of his foreign policy as adventurers who want to invade everywhere Al Qaeda operates.

Cautiousness and deliberation are certainly warranted when contemplating re-entering a war, but delay risks allowing a key nation in the Middle East, one in which we’ve poured billions of dollars and thousands of lives, fall to violent Islamists.

The President no doubt has public opinion strongly on his side – especially since he has been leading the public to that side since before he first took office.

What are we to do as a country in which we have clear interests – preventing Al Qaeda from establishing a massive and wealthy safe-haven, stopping the evolution of a regional ethno-sectarian war, keeping Iran from establishing permanent forward military bases in Iraq – looks to be on the brink of falling to radical Islamists?

If the Iraqis cannot find a political solution quickly,is it better for the U.S. to allow all of this to happen? And are the odds of a political solution in Iraq increased or decreased by American inaction?

When America is passive in such cases, others fill the vacuum.

As we speak, the Iranians are trying to help the Iraqi Shi’a resist the ISIS advance. Reports indicate the deployment of hundreds of Qods Force troops to Iraq, and Tehran has threatened to conduct its own airstrikes in Iraq if militants come close to its border.

That advance will halt in any event once it reaches the Shi’a-dominated areas in and south of Baghdad.

Shi’a groups, including Moqtada al Sadr’s militias, are already reforming in preparation for the full-scale sectarian war that is on its way.

Some may argue that we should align ourselves with Iran – that our interests and Tehran’s coincide in Iraq. This is folly. The U.S. and Iran share a common concern about Al Qaeda, but our approaches to dealing with the problem are antithetical.

Turning the problem over to Iran is absolutely incompatible with the conditions for involving the U.S. at all that the President announced Friday. If we back Iran in Iraq, we’re taking Iran’s side against our Arab allies and aligning with the Shi’a against the Sunni. We should not be taking sides, particularly since Iran’s approach is certain to lead to an expansion of sectarian war, providing a perennial recruiting masterpiece for Al Qaeda.

Relying on the Iraqis, with Iranian support, to beat back ISIS would have a predictable, almost inevitable, outcome: a transposition of the Syria conflict into Iraq – with Maliki in the role of Assad and ISIS playing, well, ISIS.

Under this scenario, Iraq would once again become another magnet for international jihadis, and the black-and-white ISIS banner will become the symbol not merely of Al Qaeda’s most impressive military victory in history, but also of an actual Al Qaeda state.

Some would dispute this characterization, pointing to the vehement disagreements between ISIS and Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda. Zawahiri, after all, partially expelled ISIS from the Al Qaeda movement.
Key to that disagreement is the argument about whether Al Qaeda affiliates should attempt to set up Islamic states now (ISIS says yes) or focus instead on the global jihad (Zawahiri’s insistence). In fact, we should not be surprised if we soon hear claims that it is actually better for us that ISIS prevail in this competition, since it is “locally-focused.”

Let us dispense with such sophistries at once. For all intents and purposes, ISIS is the Artist Formerly Known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. Whatever disagreements may fester at the moment, it is and remains part of the global Al Qaeda movement. The group continues to draw would-be jihadis from around the world, including the U.S. and Canada, to fight and die in Syria and Iraq. And it is about to become the most powerful and successful Al Qaeda franchise ever.

There is no way that such a development will be anything but disastrous for the U.S., even leaving aside the calamity that will flow from the full-scale regional and sectarian war that may already be underway.

There is, in fact, no end in sight for this war now, especially if we allow Iraq to go down. A policy of retreat and abandonment remains as it has always been the fastest road to endless war.

Ask Marion: Absolutely… the United States must intervene in Iraq. Otherwise all our young men and women that fought their so honorably, were wounded there, and died there did so in vane. And let us not forget the trillions we invested there.

And there is also a much bigger price to come if we don’t. If we allow this all-slaughter to continue, regardless of what crazy Nancy Pelosi says, that is our fault because President Obama did not listen to his generals and experts on the ground about the withdrawal, the Islamic Caliphate will have begun there, and will spread throughout the Middle East, after which the attacks on Israel, the United States and any non-Muslim countries will be endless.

We need to be launching targeted drones and dropping missiles as well as giving what is left of their leadership guidance… but no boots on the ground!

And people in the know need to be calling the big-three media outlets… ABC, CBS and NBC and their local papers and demanding that this news be covered for the low-informed to see and understand.

Bookworm Room : I’m of many, many minds on this. Assuming that we want to end the bloodshed there, I would intervene only if we had a different (by which I really mean “better”) president. Things will not get better for America or for the Iraqis if we go in with an Obama led fighting force.

Obama doesn’t think in terms of victory or of the safety and well-being of American troops. He thinks in terms of political gamesmanship and the ugliness that is American military might. If he a new invasion, he’d piddle a few bombs here, order a few drones there, and watch a few hundred troops die somewhere else (then convening a panel to prove that the troops provoked their own demise). Then he’d declare we’d achieved some bean-counter’s goal and pull out.

Of course, if we had a better president, we wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. American wouldn’t be a paper tiger (or a paper clown). She’d be a world presence whose word meant something, and whose gravitas would keep at least some evil at bay.

And by better president, I do not mean another Dubya iteration. Dubya too never really understand that we’re fighting an enemy so evil it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Dubya thought in terms of a global calculus — bring democracy and we’ll have peace. It didn’t seem to occur to him that Islam and democracy do not coexist in the same temporal and spatial universe.

But really, should we intervene? Iran is now threatening to get involved, which takes me back to the glorious 1980s when Iran and Iraq were so busy killing each other, they had little time to kill anybody else.

Right now, Syria is an appalling blood bath. There are no good guys. Two armies of unspeakable evil are facing off against each other. The only innocents, and the only ones for whom I mourn, are the children and those helpless women — not the “black widows” or “martyred mamas” — who have been sucked into this morass through the sheer bad luck of being part of these toxic cultures.

The more the bad guys kill each other in Syria, the better for us. The same might hold true for Iraq. If it becomes another Shia/Sunni fight to the death, the only thing that I’ll mourn in addition to those poor women and children are the American troops who died, or who were wounded other otherwise suffered in a long war that might have been victorious if one president hadn’t done the “gentlemanly” thing and thrown it away to another president who did nothing at all.

  Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

 “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” – President Barack Hussein Obama, 2012

“The only final sin is stupidity.” - Hunter S. Thompson

“They were careless people–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald,The Great Gatsby

 

The big story this week is the al-Qaeda offshoot The Islamic State of Iraq and al Shams (ISIS) and its successful offensive against the Shi’ite Iraqi government that has it in charge of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and advancing on Baghdad.A large part of the success of ISIS is a story we’re not really being told, but this week’s winning entry, Joshuapundit’s-Obama Is Aiding And Abetting Jihad Against The West – In Syria is my attempt to tell that story in some detail, about how the Obama Administration set the stage for what’s happening in Iraq by arming, training and funding ISIS and other jihadi groups in Syria covertly for two years without informing congress…and what the ultimate consequences for us could end up being. Here’s a slice:

In his commencement address at West Point, President Obama has announced that the U.S.is ‘weighing military aid’ for Syrian rebels. Separately, administration officials spoke off the record to reporters from the Associated Press and said that Obama and his team are planning to send U.S. military advisers to Jordan to train and equip certain moderate Syrian rebels.

Actually, the president has been covertly indulging his desire to intervene in Syria on the side of Islamist rebels without congressional oversight for quite some time, and its pernicious effect is starting to be felt. Just like the president’s illegal intervention in Libya, our intervention in Syria has been like a rock dropped into a lake, sending ripples far beyond the original point of impact.

The training has mostly been done in Qatar and conducted by the CIA,although training of jihadis has also occurred in Jordan, where we already have almost 2,000 U.S. troops stationed and in camps along Syria’s border with Turkey.

The president predictably lied about this when he was asked, but a documentary made by PBS ( hardly a right wing, anti-Obama platform) entitled ” Syria: Arming the Rebels” actually shows jihadis training, holding up U.S. weapons and supplies and describe their journey from the Syrian battlefield to meet with their American handlers in Turkey and then being shipped to Qatar. Once there, they’re instructed in sophisticated combat techniques, including one course on “how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”

As PBS notes “it appears the Obama administration is allowing select groups of rebels to receive US-made anti-tank missiles.”

The United States has already spent $287 million so far in what’s described as nonlethal aid for the rebels, with whom knows how much for military aid and training since the Obama Administration and the president still deny that took place. I mean, who are you going to believe? Barack Obama or your lying eyes?

In any event this new emphasis means that a lot more money and arms are headed to Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry is talking in the neighborhood of $5 billion. He also claims we have the ability to vet who the aid goes to, which is ridiculous given the facts on the ground unless we really are going to send boots on the ground to Syria to get involved and see who lines up next to us.

How have our efforts in Syria been turning out so far?

Well, first of all, as was apparent from the PBS documentary and other sources, we haven’t really had all that much control of where the arms, money and supplies go, or really, even who gets trained.
It’s a similar situation to what happened in Afghanistan back in the late 1970′s when President Carter began arming the Afghan muhadejin to fight the Soviets. We sent the stuff to Pakistan and it was our dear friends the Pakistanis who decided who got what, not us. Any wonder the Taliban took over once the Soviets skedaddled?

What Syria is becoming is jihadi summer camp, with foreign fighters flocking there, picking up valuable experience and skills like how to make an IED that won’t result in a work accident, gaining combat experience in Syria and Iraq and then ultimately heading back to their home countries to teach others. Al Nusrah and ISIS already run their own training facilities in Syria and in the parts of Iraq ISIS now controls.

The resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, where ISIS now controls 3 of Iraq’s 18 provinces can be directly linked to President Obama’s covert decision to support and arm the Syrian rebels, and, as we will eventually find out when the truth about Benghazi surfaces, to his intervention in Libya. We have only estimates of how many jihadis with Western citizenship have been trained and indoctrinated there, and no one in the Administration is paying any attention to how many have received U.S. arms, money and training.

 In late October 2013, Mike Rogers, chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee, warned that al-Qaeda allies in Syria were now “talking about conducting external operations, which is exactly what happened in Afghanistan, which led to 9/11.”

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‘External operations’…that’s pretty much what’s going on in Iraq right now.And it isn’t just Iraq.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was the one and only Mark Steyn with a piece that may very well become a modern classic, A Non-Debating Society submitted by Liberty’s Spirit. It’s a brilliant examination of free speech and how it’s become stifled by what he calls ‘the heckler’s veto.’ A must read.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Simply Jews,basking in sunny Italy was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Borders? What Borders? Edition

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

This week’s contest is dedicated to the next congressman representing the great State of Virginia’s 7th District, Dave Brat. Kudos!

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

*Bookworm Room’s article Rand Paul Defends Constitution – Mounts Filibuster Against Drone Use *UPDATED* was cited over at World Net Daily by Nat Hentoff.

*Debra Heine over at Nice Deb has a great new piece up at Breitbart,Report: WH Orchestrated Campaign of Threats and Intimidation Against Servicemen to Keep Them Quiet About Bergdahl

This week, MidKnight Review, The Pirate’s Cove and Maggie’s Notebook earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

Council Submissions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

 

 

Non-Council Submissions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!

Forum: Should Bowe Bergdahl Be Tried For Desertion? Will He Be?


Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question:Should Bowe Bergdahl Be Tried For Desertion? Will He Be?

Robert Avrech, Seraphic Secret: Bode Bergdahl should have a fair trial — and then he should face a firing squad. Will this happen? Nope. Obama will make sure this ghastly excuse for an American will never have to answer for his treason.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Absolutely. Maybe even other charges too.

Yet for now – right now – we don’t know that he was a deserter yet. We only know that he was AWOL.

An earlier Pentagon report says he had a habit of wandering off base in CONUS and the Stan.

Now this may indeed mean he’s a goob or a doofus yet it doesn’t prove he was a deserter.

Which is hopefully what serious charges will prove or unprove.

A trial may ferret out the diff betwixt desertion and defection.

The distinction is important. If he’s a defector — joined the enemy to fight against his country — then he deserves deserves killing, the way we kill other enemies in the field, the way we killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had openly joined al-Qaeda.

 The Noisy Room: Yes, Bergdahl should be tried not only for desertion, but treason. He defected to the enemy, trained them and knowingly aided and abetted them. That warrants the death penalty for treason. Will he be? Nope. Not in this political climate and not as long as the Progressive Marxists wield control and power in the United States.

I wholeheartedly agree with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch at PJ Media. There are five solid indications that Bergdahl is a traitor:

1. His conversion to Islam and self-description as a “Mujahid.”

In 2010, the Taliban claimed that Bergdahl converted to Islam. It was also reported that he was training Jihadists to make bombs and use them against American troops. Fox News, last week, released secret documents showing just that. Why do you think he lived among them for five years unmolested and kept his head intact? He was handed over as a brother and his captors expressed regret at not getting to say goodbye. These documents and information were buried by those in the know. I believe that the Obama Administration and the military knew from the beginning that Bergdahl was a defector and a traitor.

His fellow soldiers have just been released from gag orders/non-disclosure agreements where they were threatened with prosecution if they brought details to light of Bergdahl’s circumstances. They would have violated them any way, because honor dictates that the truth be told, damn the consequences. Do the math. It could very well be Obama and company did not want Bergdahl’s conversion publicized after high profile events such as the Fort Hood massacre. Now that he is released, investigation and prosecution would further ‘embarrass’ team Obama. It will be stonewalled and buried — trust me. Both sides of the aisle, in fact, will fight to make it go away and fade from memory.

Robert Spencer nailed it:

To investigate, much less to try Bowe Bergdahl, despite the fact that evidence of his misconduct continues to mount, would require an honest president, a robust opposition party, and a media determined to uncover the truth. Strike one, strike two, strike three.

2. The note Bergdahl left behind is damning.

In said note, Bergdahl stated he was disillusioned with the Army and America in general. He stated he was renouncing his American citizenship and wanted to go find the Taliban. He proceeded to do so. He should be considered an enemy combatant.

3. His email to his father.

In a treasonously worded screed, Bergdahl wrote to his father in heartfelt terms: “I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.” He declared: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Right back at you asshat. We find you disgusting and worse. For his father’s part, he lovingly told his son: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!” I believe his whole family has converted to Islam and Obama’s smile at the utterance of an Islamic prayer during a news conference at the White House by the father is very, very revealing. Nothing new to me as I have suspected Obama’s allegiances from the beginning, but it is telling to mainstream America.

4. Panic at the Defense Department.

Enough panic to cause a full investigation to be launched. Fox News reported Monday that Bergdahl — “both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of ‘a major classified file.’ In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”

5. The accuracy of attacks using IEDs.

From Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow:

“Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero. He needs to answer for what he did.” Even worse, Buetow recounted that days after Bergdahl vanished from the U.S. base, there were reports that he was in a nearby village looking for someone who spoke English, so that he could establish communications with the Taliban. Soon afterward, Buetow recalled, “IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical.”

Bergdahl told the Taliban where the trucks would be and when. He showed them how to build the bombs and kill troops. Treason n’est-ce pas?

We traded the Gitmo 5 for a defector that according to Colonel David Hunt, “called his unit the day after he deserted to tell his unit he deserted.” Nathan Bradley Bethea, a former infantry officer who served with Bowe Bergdahl pointed out not only that Bergdahl was a deserter, but that men died looking for him. Army intelligence knew where Bergdahl was being kept several times, but Special Forces negated rescue each time because he was deemed a deserter. Why rescue him now? Political cover for Obama and to distract from multiple scandals, specifically the VA scandal. Obama also wants the war in Afghanistan to cease and wants to empty Gitmo, regardless of the repercussions. The Pentagon also came to the same conclusion in 2010 on Bergdahl: “Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.” An official said that the evidence that Bergdahl had deserted was “incontrovertible.”

When fellow soldiers decried the ‘hero’s welcome’ afforded Bergdahl, the Administration called them psychopaths and accused them of “swift-boating” Bergdahl. Alinsky is alive and well within Obama’s government. Discredit and marginalize those who resist right on cue.

Bergdahl should be dragged into a military court and he should be forced to testify and stand for his sins of desertion, defection and treason. Then he should be summarily executed. Will it happen? Not a chance in hell.

The Independent Sentinel: Bowe Bergdahl should most definitely be tried for desertion. He left without permission twice and the second time he left, he said he was going to find the Taliban. He contacted his base the next day and verified. He hid from his brothers as they searched for him. He abandoned them. He might also be a traitor.

I support the military who served with him who have said to a man so far that he deserted.

I doubt he will be tried. He might be tried for being AWOL.

There is a cover up underway in my opinion.

Outside of the NY Times articles, we have no idea what is going on with Bergdahl now except what Mr. Obama and his compliant media want us to know. We do know his father and the government hand picked the doctors working with him. The administration and the media are setting us up for a PTSD defense.

 JoshuaPundit: The worst Bergdahl can be tried for is desertion, and that seems self evident. A Pentagon investigation in 2010 stated conclusively that he did in fact desert. He can’t be tried for treason, because we are not and have never been in a legal,  constitutionally  declared war against either Afghanistan back when the Taliban ruled it or against the Taliban themselves.And that’s something we can blame Bush for.A proper declaration of war against al-Qaeda and nations aiding and abetting them would have changed the whole ballgame. But the powers that be deliberately wanted things kept fuzzy for reasons I’m sure are obvious to most thinking people by now.

I doubt he will be tried. This was never about Bowe Bergdahl, but about President Obama’s mania about closing down Club Gitmo and freeing the inhabitants no matter what. As such ,anything that reflects badly on Bergdahl reflects badly on the Prevaricator-in-Chief’s judgment, and we can’t have that.

Bergdahl’s defense if he is tried will be that he suffered a mental breakdown, and he is undoubtedly being groomed and told what to say and what not to say by lawyers and advisers sent by the Justice Department. They’ve already started by releasing the fact that poor Bowe is refusing to meet with his parents..he’s simply too stressed out from all that torture and stuff, which we have no way of verifying…it will simply be Bowe’s word against those heartless Republicans and those ‘swiftboating soldiers’, as the White House is already referring to Bowe’s fellow soldiers who have broken their silence about what a de facto traitor and foul ball he actually was. That will be the media line, heart rending accounts on the cruel captivity he suffered under the Taliban, and no doubt the New York Times and MSNBC will lead the charge shilling for him not to be punished.

If by chance he is tried, he’ll simply be given a medical/psychiatric discharge and sent somewhere quiet to work with his ghost writer on the multi-million dollar book deal that will undoubtedly be forthcoming.

I hate with a passion to be so cynical, but that’s how I see it going down. TIf I’m right (and I hope I’m not) the reaction this will generate from our military and from young men and women thinking of enlisting is obvious.

Ask Marion: Unless there are some mitigating factors, like Bode Bergdahl was some kind of a deep CIA operative (and I find that possibility about as remote as me winning 1-million dollars tomorrow), I absolutely believe that Bergdahl should be tried for desertion. And because of the White House’s bungled handling of this entire swap and the uproar it has caused, thank goodness, I believe that they will at least begin the process of a Court Martial.

But I fear that Bergdahl’s defense will go down the insanity route, using some type of the Stockholm Syndrome or PTSD argument. So even with all the prior information about his studying the Taliban’s language, his odd behavior in general, his note left behind and his Dad’s equally odd behavior, just for starters, Bergdahl will probably be ruled too incompetent to stand trial. But I hope and pray that I am wrong, that the worm has turned, and that Congress, the American people at large and the military will insist and demand more.

Bookworm Room: Yes, he should be tried. Will he be tried? Bill Otis has a more likely answer: presidential pardon.

The Glittering Eye: A 2010 Pentagon investigation found that then-Pvt. Bergdahl had just walked away from his unit, describing the evidence of that as “incontrovertible”. Unless now-Sgt. Bergdahl can produce convincing testimony that’s not the case, he should be tried for desertion. I’m confident that if a new investigation does not find very good reason to doubt the findings of the 2010 investigation, he will be tried.

 The Razor: I don’t care much about Bergdahl. At the very least he was a screwed up young man whose actions resulted in the deaths of his fellow soldiers, and who was likely brainwashed while imprisoned by the Taliban. I don’t see his future ending well, and I’ve not familiar enough with the UCMJ to speak on such matters. I’d leave it to his fellow soldiers to decide his fate.

Honestly I’m more concerned about the sanity of our president and this administration. They seem completely detached from reality. Their statements are bizarre and their behavior erratic. I am very worried that this country will stumble into a military disaster while under the management of these crazies that will result in great loss of life. I’m also afraid that this group will seriously damage the very fabric of the Republic with their unconstitutional actions that could undermine the very freedoms we take for granted. The use of the Department of Justice and the IRS as political weapons have done more damage to this Republic than Watergate, yet because Obama is not a Republican (and Nixon wasn’t a Democrat) it will take the passage of Time to play the role of Bernstein and Woodward.

  Well, there you have it.

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The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

 

Alea iacta est…the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and we have the results  for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason” – Sir John Harrington

“Nemo umquam sapiens proditori credendum putavit” (“No man of wisdom has ever believed a traitor should be trusted”) - Cicero

“If He play, being young and unskilful, for shekels of silver and gold, Take His money, my son, praising Allah.The fool was meant to be sold, - Hafez, circa 14th century

 

The big story this week concerned the sudden swap of five senior and very dangerous Taliban commanders for on Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S, soldier whom as it turns out, had some peculiar views about his country, at the very least deserted and very possibly did more than that. This week’s winner, Joshuapundit-‘The Horror That Is America’ – Ransoming Bowe Bergdahl is my take on this transaction and how the Obama Administration attempted to sell it to the American people – and even more what it says about our commander-in-chief and his team. Here’s a slice:

President Obama staged a convenient photo-op in the Rose garden with the parents of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier captured by the Taliban under suspicious circumstances and released in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders held in Club Gitmo. The event was stilted and strange for a number of reasons.

It was absolutely astounding to hear this president say that ‘we leave no man behind’ in view of what happened in Benghazi…and of course, with the revelation of the VA ‘death lists’, I’d say those wounded vets were definitely left behind.

Then there was the lingering fallout from the fact that once again, this president blatantly broke the law, which called for the president to inform Congress 30 days before any pending transfer of jihadis from Gitmo. Even Obama loyalists like the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein were shocked and critical over this. And members of the president’s own team who voiced any opposition to the way this deal was being conducted were simply told to shut up and salute.

But the president’s behavior aside, Robert Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl’s father was absolutely bizarre.

After the usual remarks, Bergdahl said his son had supposedly lost the ability to speak English and recited”“Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim.” That phrase, from the Qu’ran translates as “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate.”

Either Bergdahl has converted to Islam or is simply unknowing, but uttering that phrase is a profession of belief in the Muslim faith. Was that supposed to be a message to his son, who mentioned in Taliban propaganda films that he was ‘exploring Islam?’

Since the words are Arabic, not Pashto, the language his son’s Taliban captors would have been speaking, it somehow doesn’t gel with the idea of a father trying to communicate with a son who has supposedly lost the ability to speak his native language in a mere 5 years.

Bergdahl senior apparently also has some interesting views on America, not that he isn’t entitled. Here’s a tweet he tried to delete:

 bergdahl's father

Why would anyone be working to free the sort of murderers held at in Club Gitmo if they had, shall we say, a positive view of America? And since he obviously doesn’t hold the Taliban or other jihadis responsible for ‘the death of every Afghan child’ because he wants them all freed, it’s obvious he blames America for their deaths….and is calling for Allah to take revenge.

Bowe Bergdahl himself apparently has some interesting views on his service and his country.

Shortly before the Taliban got their hands on him, he said in an e-mail to his father:

“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”
Bergdahl also complained about fellow soldiers. The battalion commander was a “conceited old fool,” he said, and the only “decent” sergeants, planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can,” told the privates — Bergdahl then among them — “to do the same.”

“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

His father’s reply? “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

OK…it’s a soldier’s prerogative to gripe from time to time. But ‘I’m ashamed to be an American’ and ‘The horror that is America is disgusting’? Obviously we have someone who was raised with certain views and given his father’s outbursts, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Three days after that e-mail exchange, Bowe Bergdahl left camp on his own without authorization accompanied by two Afghans whom he had befriended, according to the original report. The Taliban said Bergdahl was intoxicated when they captured him,something the Army denied although since they weren’t present at the scene, one wonders how they would know.

What Bergdahl did is commonly known as desertion, and a number of his fellow soldiers see it exactly that way.

My own take is that Bergdahl was likely a career flake who probably never intended to desert, but merely intended to go AWOL. He went off with some Afghans he trusted with the idea of scoring drugs and/or sex. Instead, they apparently sold him to the Taliban while he was ‘relaxing’, which would square with the Taliban’s account that he was intoxicated when they picked him up (note the word I’m using, ‘intoxicated’ as opposed to ‘drunk’. Booze is difficult to find in Muslim rural Afghanistan except in areas like military bases or Kabul where westerners hang out,while dope is easy to score).

At the every least, he was obviously AWOL, and his tale about being captured while ‘lagging behind on patrol’ was exploded as sheer BS early on.

Aside from that, apparently there were casualties that were incurred searching for him. Men died because Bowe Bergdahl decided to bug out.

It seems pretty obvious Bowe Bergdahl did not ‘serve with honor and distinction’ nor was he ‘captured on the battlefield’ as President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan ‘It Was The Video, The Video’ Rice insisted to the talking heads at ABC. Although perhaps that’s how the team in the White House considers it, given what appears to be their conception of ‘honor and distinction’. Especially since Bergdahl’s being cut loose got some Gitmo jihadis freed and knocked the VA scandal out of the headlines for awhile.

Six soldiers whom did not desert lost their lives searching for him. ‘Honor and distinction?’

What he did not only led to American casualties but the freeing of five dangerous men, and it put a price on the head of every American in Afghanistan now that the Taliban has seen that kidnapping is such a successful tactic.

Much, much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Andrew McCarthy/The Corner The Taliban Swap and “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey. As always McCarthy gets to the heart of the matter..all the constitution arguments aside, what we have here is a commander-in-chief who released five top level enemy commanders in exchange for one questionable soldier while hostilities are ongoing and American lives are at risk.Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Rhymes With Right was unable to vote this week, and only Rhymes With Right was affected by the 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that!