Obama has gotten a relatively free pass as president, no doubt due to the intrigue of being the first black president. Congressional investigations into his administration go nowhere. The liberal media minimizes any wrongdoing by the administration and finds a way to spin it against Republicans instead. But something unusual has started happening. Influential figures on the left are speaking up loudly and attacking Obama over his policies regarding the U.S. military and defense. Obama is accused of being worse than former President George W. Bush due to the way he is continuing to detain Guantanamo inmates.
Obama originally said when he ran for office that he would close the Guantanamo Bay prison, and after being elected in 2009, publicly instructed the military to shut it down within one year. It is now over four years later, into his second term, and the prison is still open. Most of the prisoners have been there for over 11 years without a trial. Nine have died since it opened in 2002. The scrutiny has intensified in recent months as a majority of the 166 inmates, down from a high of 684 in 2003, have gone on hunger strikes, and at least 21 of the men are being force-fed twice daily. The administration has approved 86 detainees for release, but curiously none have been released so far this year.
Obama recently closed the office of the Special Envoy to the Closure of Guantánamo, evidence that it is becoming even less likely that it will be shut down. Polls reveal that a whopping 70 percent of Americans approve of Obama keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison open, giving Obama less incentive to shut it down. Many of the detainees are from Yemen, and cannot be released there, because the administration imposed a ban on transfers to Yemen in 2009 after the Underwear Bomber attack. more >>
The dust has settled. The lockdown has concluded. Further arrests have been made. Details keep trickling in to give us a more complete picture. And my own travel schedule has settled down enough for me to have more time to reflect on the attack on the area that was my own adopted hometown from 2008 through 2011, while I studied at Harvard Divinity School.
It is one thing, as a broad principle, to acknowledge the existence of Evil "out there." The extreme examples are too readily available to dismiss, from Nazi genocides and Soviet gulags of history to more current atrocities such as the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
But this evil struck close to home. The festive atmosphere of the Boston Marathon was suddenly ripped apart with explosions that killed three innocent people while permanently maiming or seriously wounding many others. By bombs planted on a sidewalk where I have walked. Apparently by brothers who at least occasionally attended a mosque by which I often passed. Who had attended a high school I walked by all the time. Who lived close to where I lived, and about a literal stone's throw away from where I used to meet with my accountability partners. more >>
It seems like only yesterday when President Obama stood in front of an electrified audience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention just days before the deadly September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reminding supporters, "al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead."
Days later, on September 14, a somber-faced Obama and his sullen-faced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood in front of four flag draped coffins at Andrews Air Force Base, assuring the small group of grieving family members their loved ones did not die in vain. Their ill-informed message suggested these patriots weren't killed by terrorists; they died because of protests about a YouTube video.
Since then, the administration has done its best to dodge questions and distance itself from the events of September 11, and acquired a convenient case of amnesia along the way. Nine months-in and Americans still have no clue why initial talking points from top officials' claiming the attacks were most likely executed by al Qaeda-linked terrorists were reduced to "a YouTube video." Did they fear acknowledging such a claim so close to the 2012 presidential election? Or did they actually believe the video story? more >>
A joint statement from the Sothern Baptist's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission North American Missions Board has been issued on religious freedom on the military.
Following the recent reports about a potential court martial for proselytizing, a virulent atheist military consultant, and "extremism" claims, many were wondering what problem was coming next. Were our chaplains about to be handed a copy of Good Housekeeping or Psychology Today in place of their own sacred book?
Two national religious leaders, Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Kevin Ezell of the North American Mission Board, have issued the following statement. This is an excerpt: more >>
America is only four months into the second term of Barack Obama and already one of its most promising industries is suffering from a pair of grossly obtuse government agencies who have banded together to aid a foreign state-owned company at the expense of domestic firms.
It all begins and ends with Etihad Airways, the government-owned flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates that has enjoyed uncommonly generous subsidies and courtesies from the U.S. government.
The Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this year it had designs on establishing a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE. more >>
If zebras had pink stripes, they would resemble President Obama's "red lines" on Syria.
Obama's policy has communicated the following incoherent and spineless message: "In Libya we intervened to support liberty and prevent a bloodbath: Muammar Gaddafi threatened to hunt down his enemies, 'house by house, alley by alley.' Oh, is that what Basher Assad has been doing in Syria? Well, we can't intervene there because it's too risky. True, our isolationism could mean that the post-Assad Syria will -- as either a failed or Islamist state -- become Al Queda's next headquarters, but surely that can't be as bad as US intervention. Oh, are Syrians being slaughtered by the masses? Well, maybe intervention is justified on humanitarian grounds, but only if Assad uses chemical weapons. Tens of thousands killed by Assad's mortars, guns, tanks, scud missiles, and warplanes don't suffice. Oh, did the intelligence agencies of our allies (Britain, France, and Israel) conclude that Assad used chemical weapons? Well, we still need the international community to confirm these findings with a thorough investigation."
As he backtracked on the issue last week, Obama said, "We don't know how [the chemical weapons] were used, when they were used, who used them." White House officials have conceded that better information is obtainable only if the Syrian government allows international inspectors on the ground. But the notion of any cooperation from the Syrian regime is absurd in light of prior international efforts merely "to monitor" (much less inspect) anything in Syria. The Arab League observer mission, which started at the end of December 2011 and totaled 166 monitors, lasted about two months before security threats compelled its termination. Another toothless effort, the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria established in 2012 (pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2043), involved about 300 unarmed military observers who also had to leave after two months because of safety concerns. more >>