Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

 Kashmiri demonstrators hold up Palestinian flags and a flag of the Islamic State

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser | Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Seemingly, the connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel is confined to technical aspects and does not run deeper than that. It mainly involves the notion that terror is terror and any form of it is cruel and morally unjustified, induces feelings of fear and helplessness in the target population and has to be fought with similar intelligence and operational measures. As many Israelis have been saying, “Now the French understand how we live.”

Those who question the connection Israel draws between the two kinds of terror claim that, whereas the anti-Western terror stems from a militant interpretation of Islam calling for an assault on the West, its culture, and its behavior (this, it must be acknowledged, is certainly a possible interpretation of the Koran and the other central Islamic texts, even if not an exclusive interpretation), the anti-Israeli terror stems largely from nationalist motives, even if these are entwined and suffused with Islamic claims. It is, then, even if unjustified, an in-built reaction to Palestinian suffering and the supposed wrong that was done them with Israel’s establishment and its ongoing control of the post-1967 territories.

If there is a connection between the two, it lies – some say – in the fact that among the factors contributing to Islamic terror against the West are the injustices the West has done to the Muslims, including the creation of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the heart of the Islamic region at the Palestinians’ expense. Thus, they assert, in addition to the acceptable forms of fighting terror, the West must find a way to atone for its crimes and enable the fulfillment of the Palestinian national goals, even if it entails a risk to Israel’s security. With that, Islamic anger will be allayed.

Dangerous Forbearance for “Realistic Radical Islam”

Seemingly there is some justification for distinguishing between the two kinds of terror. One kind is perpetrated by “ultra-radical” elements within radical Islam such as ISIS, the other mainly by Palestinians, some of whom belong to the “realistic” camp within radical Islam (primarily Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and some of whom (belonging to Fatah) lean more to the “pragmatic” camp in the Muslim world. At the same time, the common denominator among all the actors who belong to the radical camp – the ultra-radicals and the realists – is the vision of a struggle against the West and its culture and against Muslims who are prepared to adopt elements of Western culture and are regarded as heretics.

The difference is that the ultra-radicals believe the time to fight the West and the heretics who are friendly to it has already arrived, especially given the West’s spiritual weakness and inability or unwillingness to fight back as it seeks to gratify its earthly desires in this physical world (recently reflected in its willingness to pave Iran’s path to the bomb, its reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS and the fear of calling the radical Islamic threat by name and preference for the hollow term “violent extremism”). The realists within radical Islam believe that in this stage terror should only be directed at Israel, the West’s “extension in the Middle East,” and not against the West as a whole, which is not yet weak enough for the terror to be effective.

In this regard the struggle that the ultra-radical Islamists are waging against the West and its allies, on the one hand, and the Palestinian struggle against Israel, on the other, complement each other. Their common goal is to destroy the world order that the West created after the First World War, which included the dismantlement of the caliphate, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the adoption of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference as part of the British Mandate. This world order was reinforced after the Second World War, among other things by the decision to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, whose implementation in the face of Muslim opposition is still rejected by the Palestinians and by radical Islam in all its variants. Thus, the terror against Israel and the terror against the West are two sides of the same coin from an ideological standpoint as well, not only regarding its methods and the means of fighting it. Israel needs to make this connection clearer to its friends in the West.

What disturbs the Palestinians is that as radical Islam’s direct warfare against the West expands, they lose a key asset for promoting their goals. If, as is becoming increasingly clear, the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problem, then the West’s expression of regret for its “crimes” on this issue will not solve the greater problem. The request for penance must be much more far-reaching; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently made dialogue with the United States conditional on an American request for Iran’s forgiveness. In addition, the more the connection between the two kinds of terror grows, the more the radical Islamic component of the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and preference for a violent struggle to eliminate it, is exposed. The West would better understand how difficult it is to promote a settlement and may (as Israel would hope) come to understand that the terror against Israel is essentially part and parcel of the terror against the West.

Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, which is the arm of realistic radical Islam among the Israeli Arabs, is part of the struggle against this radical ideology. Unfortunately, many in the West still think that realistic radical Islam (Rouhani and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example) is a legitimate partner in the fight against the ultra-radical Islamists, and favor it over the pragmatic elements in the Islamic world. I’m afraid that even the current wave of attacks will not suffice to change this mindset.

* * *

A version of this article appeared in Ha’aretz on November 25, 2015

Source: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Wanted: Healthy People to Prop Up Obamacare Ponzi Scheme

Obamacare before and after

Devon Herrick | NCPA

The U.S. health care system is an unsustainable mess. Medical spending is rising at twice the rate of income growth. Medical prices are rising at three times the rate of consumer inflation. National health expenditures are approaching one-fifth of the economy. Currently the government funds about half of health care. In the coming decades, medical spending is on track to crowd out much of the other public services the government provides. There is a solution; we just haven’t tried it yet.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was sold to the American people as a means to fix those problems and make health care affordable. The vehicle to achieve this — implausibly — is a requirement that we all must purchase overpriced health insurance. In addition to stipulating the benefit package Americans are allowed to have, ACA regulations also force insurers to accept all enrollees — including people in poor health. Moreover, each person’s premiums must reflect average health in a community rather than individuals’ health status. In insurance parlance this is what’s known as guaranteed issue/community rating. The law does allow charging some people more based on their age, such as charging people in their late 50s more than the rates paid by people in their 20s. But premiums cannot be higher for enrollees with high medical bills.

How does this work in practice? Not very well! For Obamacare to work, an army of young people need to willingly pay $3,000 per year in premiums knowing they will not even come close to reaching their $3,000 deductible. An average of about one baby is born to women sometime in their 20s. But that’s about the only major expense a 20-something will incur. For their part, hoards of healthy 30-somethings all need to all pay $3,500 annually for health coverage that provides them few tangible benefits. Healthy 40-somethings need to chip in $4,000 in premiums for a $4,000 deductible they will never reach; and healthy 50-somethings need to cough up $6,000 in premiums for a $6,000 deductible most of whom will never surpass. Sounds like a bargain, right? To make health care “affordable,” millions of Americans need to spend thousands per year on health coverage that pays virtually none of their medical bills. In other words, access to affordable care under Obamacare is premised on the idea of that most people necessarily must get a raw deal. Obamacare is premised on overcharging most people to offset the higher costs for the few enrollees who would otherwise find their coverage unaffordable if charged premiums based on their own health risk.

Average health spending per capita in the United States is around $8,600 annually. But it’s not distributed evenly. About 80 percent of the enrollees are healthy. They collectively consume only 20 percent of the health care dollars used; about $2,150 per year on average. However, some people are ticking time bombs. The least healthy 20 percent spend an average of about $35,000 yearly.

On average:

  • About 10 percent of the population has health concerns accounting for 17 percent of spending.
  • Another 5 percent have serious health concerns accounting for 16 percent of health spending expenditures.
  • The next 4 percent consumes nearly one-quarter of health care dollars (27 percent), while;
  • The sickest 1 percent of patients accounts for 20 percent of spending.

Think about that for a moment: the sickest 5 percent of the population consumes nearly half of all health care dollars. Of course, most of those are not really genetic losers. Many are merely aged seniors in their last months of life.

Obamacare purposely attempts to make health care affordable by forcing the healthy 80 percent to shoulder more of the costs for the unhealthy 20 percent. But that does not make care affordable; it merely shifts the costs from one party to another. Consider how absurd this is: we could all share the nation’s medical bills if we merely sent a check to the government for $895 a month. That is sufficient to pay an equal share of national health expenditures and includes an extra 20 percent so the government could contract with insurers to negotiate with hospitals, process claims and eke out a profit. Of course, that is not likely to work since a lot of kindergarteners cannot be trusted to pay their fair share out of their lunch money. It also illustrates how much money we are spending as a nation on medical care.

The bottom line: we will never get a handle on runaway health spending until we get a handle on what to do about the 20 percent of the population that consumes 80 percent of health care dollars. We don’t necessarily have to throw them under the bus, or put them on an ice floe to drift out to sea where they die of exposure. Multiple studies have found that about 30 percent of medical care is wasteful, unnecessary or possibly even harmful. If we could better manage the care provided the sickest 20 percent of the population we could possibly reduce expenditures by one-quarter or more.

The perverse way Obamacare attempts to make health care affordable is both unconscionable and ineffective. Moreover, it will do nothing to reduce the rising cost of health care. Rather than disrupt the lives of the 80 percent by overcharging them to prop up an unsustainable health care system, why not improve the way medical care is provided the sickest 20 percent?

An earlier version of this Health Alert appeared on Town Hall.

Source: Health Policy Blog


The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells

The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells-media-2

Michael Snyder

Why hasn’t the U.S. bombed the oil wells that ISIS controls into oblivion by now?  Would you believe that it is because the Obama administration “didn’t want to do environmental damage”?  Former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell has publicly admitted that we have purposely avoided damaging the main source of income for ISIS, and his explanation for why we were doing this is utterly bizarre.  But at this point what could the Obama administration say that would actually make sense?  Everyone now knows that ISIS has been making hundreds of millions of dollars selling oil in Turkey, and that this has been done with the full knowledge and complicity of the Obama White House.  This is potentially the biggest scandal of the entire Obama presidency, and yet so far the Republicans have not jumped on it.

If you or I even gave five bucks to ISIS, we would be arrested and hauled off to Guantanamo Bay.  And yet Barack Obama is allowing ISIS to funnel massive quantities of oil through our NATO ally Turkey, and he is not doing anything to stop this from happening.  It is a betrayal of the American people that is so vast that it is hard to put into words.

By now, virtually everyone on the entire planet knows exactly what is going on.  For example, Iraq’s former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie shared the following on his Facebook page on Saturday

“First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price.”

Until Russia started bombing the living daylights out of them, an endless parade of trucks carrying ISIS oil would go back and forth over the Turkish border completely unmolested.  Following the downing of a Russian SU-24 bomber by Turkey in an area where many of these trucks travel, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to publicly air this dirty laundry.  Just check out what he told reporters following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande last week

Commercial-scale oil smuggling from Islamic State controlled territory into Turkey must be stopped, Putin said after meeting Hollande in Moscow.

Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” said Putin, reminding the press that the scale of the issue was discussed at the G20 summit in Antalya earlier this month, where the Russian leader demonstrated reconnaissance footage taken by Russian pilots.

The views resemble a living oil pipe stretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey, the Russian President stressed. Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty.

We are talking about a commercial-scale supply of oil from the occupied Syrian territories seized by terrorists. It is from these areas [that oil comes from], and not with any others. And we can see it from the air, where these vehicles are going,” Putin said.

If the Russians could see all of this, the U.S. military could see it too.  In fact, we have far better surveillance capabilities than the Russians do.

So why didn’t Obama put an end to this?

Well, as I mentioned above, former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell told PBS that the Obama administration didn’t want “to create environmental damage”, and he insists that the oil wells are “infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore”.  The following comes from the Daily Caller

Appearing on PBS’s “Charlie Rose” on Tuesday, Rose pointed out that before the terrorist attacks in Paris, the U.S. had not bombed ISIS-controlled oil tankers.

Morell explained, “Prior to Paris, there seemed to be a judgment that … look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore, and it’s going to create environmental damage. And we didn’t go after oil wells — actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls because we didn’t want to do environmental damage and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure, right.”

In case you think that this is some sort of a joke, you can watch video of Morell making these comments on PBS below

After the horrific terror attacks in Paris, the Obama administration finally was shamed into bombing a few of these oil trucks.  But 45 minutes before the U.S. military bombed them, they dropped leaflets telling the truck drivers to “get out of your trucks now and run away from them”.

The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells-media-3

What kind of “war on terror” are we running?

Why in the world would we want to warn the terrorists to get away from their trucks?

Meanwhile, things between Russia and Turkey continue to get even more tense.  The Russians have slapped severe economic sanctions on the Turks, they have shut down all channels of communication with Turkey’s military, and they are bombing every Turkish vehicle that they can find inside Syria.  The following comes from a report that was put out by Debka

In the last two days, Putin has been found saying one thing and doing another: Although he declared that Russia would not go to war with Turkey for “stabbing it in the back”, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that since Wednesday night, Nov. 25, Russian heavy bombers and warplanes have been hitting every Turkish vehicle moving or stationary inside Syria.

They bombed the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, located on the Turkey-Syria frontier, as well trailers and tractors parked in an area belonging to the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, on the Syrian side of the border.

As I wrote about the other day, it has been documented that our NATO ally Turkey has been “training ISIS militants, funneling weapons to them, buying their oil, and tending to their wounded in Turkish hospitals”.  Now, heavy bombing by the Russians threatens to cut off those links

In addition to punishing the Turkish leader, Russia’s massive military operations in Syria aim to degrade the rebel groups fighting the Assad regime. Heavy bombing sorties this week on the Syrian-Turkish border are cutting off tens of thousands of rebels from their only source of fresh supplies of weapons, ammo, food and fighters, leaving them without a line of retreat and nowhere to send their wounded.

At this point, Russia and Turkey are very close to a state of war.

But as a member of NATO, the United States is obligated to help protect Turkey if a full-blown shooting war does break out.

We are closer to World War III than we have been in decades, and yet most Americans are still completely and totally oblivious to what is taking place.

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, because things over in the Middle East threaten to spiral completely and totally out of control.

Source: Economics Collapse Blog

The Farce of the Paris Climate Change Summit

CO2 Fraud

Institute for Energy Research

This week, 118 national leaders will be meeting in Paris for the climate change summit where President Obama will be proselytizing about his EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, among other U.S. regulations affecting energy use in the United States. The Clean Power Plan requires carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector to be reduced by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. While the EPA argues its rule is virtually costless, other forecasters have found it to increase electricity prices in all 47 states affected by the rule. In fact, 40 states are expected to see electricity price increases in the double digits. More than half our states are expected to see electricity price increases of more than 20 percent. President Obama promised to hurt American electricity consumers by escalating prices, which will lower global carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1 percent and will reduce temperatures in 2100 by a mere 0.02 degrees Celsius. That’s a lot of expense for nearly no gain.

But President Obama is not stopping there. He has met with Chinese and Indian officials to try to get their collaboration in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. China is now the number one carbon dioxide emitting nation and India will eventually surpass the United States in carbon dioxide emissions. However, these governments want to develop their economies and provide power to their residents without it, so they have not committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but rather having them peak at a future date or to reduce the intensity of their emissions (i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP).

China has agreed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by that date.[i] Under the deal, China is allowed to emit 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide as the United States will be allowed to emit in 2030, when China may begin to reduce its emissions. What is even more frustrating is that China’s data is suspect. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently admitted that it had underestimated coal consumption, which the country now says is 17 percent higher than originally thought.[ii] (See graphs below.)

Chinese coal consumption

Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA),

India is not proposing to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, but instead to reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent to 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. India also says that it will produce 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources (nuclear, hydropower, wind, and solar power) by 2030[iii], if it receives assistance from Western countries.[iv] This reduction means that its carbon dioxide emissions would still triple by 2030. If India triples its emissions by 2030, it will be emitting 13 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than the emissions that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the United States to emit in that year.[v]

Further, President Obama has consolidated a deal with officials from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reaching an agreement to end global financing of new coal power plants that will restrict inexpensive generating technology for developing nations. The agreement will end export credits for coal plant technology, which many poor nations rely on to bring low cost electricity to its residents. Despite cuts to global subsidies not beginning until 2017, the deal is expected to kill 850 planned coal plant projects around the world, cutting funding for export credits for 85 percent of new coal plant projects going forward.[vi] This agreement puts a damper on Japan and other countries supporting coal power investments in developing countries, though there is a compromise in the agreement that permits funding of advanced technology plants that employ emission reduction technologies such as carbon capture.[vii] Incidentally, neither China nor India are part of the OECD, and thus would not be bound by such restrictions if they choose to finance the export of their coal technologies to developing nations.

President Obama and the Democratic candidates running for President of the United States believe that climate change is our number one challenge and that it is related to the growth in terrorism. However, global surface temperature has risen only about 0.8°C in the last 125 years, which can be the expected temperature variation if one drives just 150 miles south.[viii] The ludicrousness of putting climate change as the nation or world’s number one challenge is costly, and will only result in Americans suffering for no real global gain.

It is a curious situation that the richest, most energy consuming nations on Earth seek to reach an agreement that would stop poorer developing nations from experiencing the rapid and sustained growth that history shows energy provides for people and their economies. While such an agreement would concentrate more power in the hands of national leaders and the companies and businesses they favor, it would undeniably hurt the poorest people in the world, and in the case of the United States, hurt the poorest among us. Paris is for the elites, who seem to want to have nothing to do with the working men and women of the world who aspire for a better future for their children.

[i] White House, Fact Sheet: U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change and Clean Energy Cooperation, November 11, 2014, and IER,

[ii] New York Times, China Burns Much More Coal Than Originally Reported, Complicating Climate Talks, November 3, 2015,

[iii] New York Times, India Announces Plan to Lower Rate of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, October 1, 2015, and IER,

[iv] Climate Wire, India, long an obstruction in climate talks, pledges to cut its CO2 intensity by up to 35%, October 2, 2015,


[vi] Daily Caller, Obama, World Leaders Cut Off Cheap Energy Options for Poor Nations, November 19, 2015,

[vii] Bloomberg Business, In Coal Setback, Rich Nations Agree to End Export Credits, November 17, 2015,

[viii] Huffington Post, Does Climate Change Actually Fuel Terrorism?, November 18, 2015,

Muslim “Refugees” : The Issue Is National Security, NOT Racial Or Religious Bias

Muslim refugees

Obama and the Democrats are attempting to deceive American about admitting Muslim refugees using emotional arguments Click To Tweet

By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News

Syrian “Refugees” And The Paris Jihadist Massacre

The concurrent Islamic-sponsored atrocities occurring in Syria and Paris have finally focused an intense level of attention from the U.S. media and public on the peril of importing Islamic jihad in the persons of Muslims claiming “refugee” status. Obama and the Democrats are defying common sense in their desire to bring Syrian Muslims who cannot be vetted to this country.

To quote the FBI Director, James Comey:

The challenge we’re all talking about is that, we can only query against that (data) which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home but there would be nothing show up because we have no record on it.

“You can only query what you have collected. And with respect to the Iraqi refugees, we had far more in our database because of our country’s work there, for a decade. This is a different situation.

Therefore, rather than futilely attempting to make a coherently logical case in the U.S. political arena, the Democrats and their sycophant media are engaging in constant efforts to distract the U.S. body politic from clearly seeing the dangerous national security implications of relocating Muslims into the U.S.

In order to confuse the issue and dupe the public, Democrats and their media shills falsely charge that Republicans resist bringing Syrian and other Muslims into the country because they are “racist and religiously bigoted;” thereby disingenuously using emotion and a false moral equivalence dilemma to attempt to refute common sense based on documented, historical experience with jihadist violence, AKA “terrorism.” The Democrats are evading taking on the irrefutable Republican evidence that al-Qaeda jihadists have already entered the U.S. through the refugee program and that:

There have been roughly 70 terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 and scores of young people who are first or second generation refugees and immigrants who have become involved in some way with Islamist jihadists, either by undertaking attacks here or traveling overseas to join a terrorist group, or both.

So, instead of attempting the impossible task of rebutting the unassailable evidence in the House Homeland Security Committee Report, “SYRIAN REFUGEE FLOWS: Security Risks And Counterterrorism Challenges,“ the Democrats have naturally resorted to their standard personal smear tactics in order to dodge confronting the facts that give the lie to their irresponsible liberal scheme. They are launching character assassinations by attacking the moral integrity of those opposing their incompetent, dangerous plans. As usual, the Democrats are impugning the responsible critics, that are advocating for judicious national security policies to protect the American people, as “racist, bigoted haters” who are afraid of “widows and three year-old orphans.” The Democrats’ desperate, irrelevant, and unfounded ad hominem attacks betray their lack of substance to make their case for importing potential Muslim jihadists. Then they completely destroy all credibility by refusing to even acknowledge their opponents’ honest concerns for national security, which is the first duty of the U.S. Government. Obama and the Democrats refuse to put first things first.

The Syrian “Refugee” Issue

The Obama regime originally set off a domestic uproar in the U.S. when it announced that Obama plans to bring in 10,000 Syrian “refugees” over the next year, in addition to the more than 2,000 that Obama has already relocated into the U.S. Then this refugee furor was exacerbated when Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, and thirteen other Democrat senators called on the president to up the number to at least 65,000 Syria “refugees.” To add to this uproar, Durbin next increased the number he was calling on Obama to admit to 100,000! Of course, these irresponsible Democrat admission proposals were made despite the fact that the FBI Director had made clear that Muslims from Syria cannot be vetted.

Without a doubt, bringing any number of Syrian “refugees” into the U.S. is problematic because of the impossibility of vetting them and because the Islamic State has openly declared that they intend to use the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West by introducing their operatives into the refugee flow. This same Islamic State source claimed that 4,000 trained Islamic State fighters have already been smuggled into Europe. Of course, it is only logical to assume that the Islamic State intends to use infiltration of the refugee stream to place operatives in the U.S. also, thus making vetting imperative for the U.S. Government.

Furthermore, it is obvious that all those claiming refugee status are not “refugees.” In fact, the foremost Western expert on Islam, Robert Spencer, has explained that the “refugees” are really just a cover for “stealth jihad.”

The entire continent of Europe is being inundated with refugees at a rate unprecedented in world history. This is no longer just a “refugee crisis.” This is a hijrah. . . or jihad by emigration . . . To emigrate in the cause of Allah – that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act. “And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,” says the Qur’an. “And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran Sura 4:100)

The Obama regime and many Democrats facetiously assert that the vetting system is adequate to preclude Syrian jihadist infiltration because it takes 24 months, and they further maintain the Syrian humanitarian crisis compels the U.S. to act humanely and accept “refugees” in biblical proportions because “they deserve our support” due to the war hardships they’ve experienced. The Democrat claim that the U.S. “owes” entry and resettlement in this country to Syrians because they have endured war is just specious! There are wars occurring all over the world all of the time and to maintain that the U.S. must accommodate the victims of those wars that have been dislocated is simply irrational logic. But most important to consider in the case of these Syrians is that they were on the losing side in an internal Islamic sectarian war, and merely because they are the losing victims does not mean that they share American Judeo-Christian or even Western secular values and are willing or capable of successfully assimilating into American society.

Additional Democrat arguments to justify bringing in as many fleeing Syrians as possible include, in Obama’s words “Syrian refugees are no bigger threat to the U.S. than ‘tourists’.”

The Issue Is Much Bigger Than Just Syrian “Refugees”

Actually Obama has a valid point that Muslim refugees and Muslim tourists are of equal mortal danger to the American people. In fact, Muslims pose a mortal threat to Americans, regardless whether they are refugees, tourists, or second generation U.S.-born Muslims. The issue may be summarized by the simple statement of fact: If you are not talking about Islamic theology, you are not talking about the real existential issue facing America and the Western world.

The point that matters is when considering Muslims isn’t race, ethnicity, or country of birth; rather it is only about belief because belief determines behavior. When a Muslim professes belief in the Islamic faith, that person is professing belief in the scriptural foundation of Islam, the Quran. The Quran contains 109 suras or verses that are direct commands from Allah to make jihadist war against all who do not believe in Islam. Moreover, just because a Muslim may not be personally active in jihad, it does not negate the fact that those 109 suras will always be the scriptural basis of Islam, nor does it mean that other Muslims will not engage in jihad. And furthermore, it does not even guarantee that the non-jihadist Muslim at one point in time will not be radicalized and become an active jihadist at a later date.

All of the propaganda distraction from Obama and the Democrats about Muslims not being a danger due to thorough Muslim assimilation in America or, that because only a small percentage of Muslims are jihadists, they are not a threat, are obfuscations meant to mislead Americans. Just a quick mention of Major Nidal Hasan, Yusuf Ibrahim, Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev, Ali Muhammad Brown, Nadir Soof, and Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez gives the lie to the thorough American assimilation falsehood. Regarding the contention that only a small percentage of Muslims are jihadists, just 10 jihadists killed 130 in Paris and merely 10 jihadist attackers murdered 166 in Mumbai. Between 2009 and 2013 Obama has issued 680,000 green cards to Muslims. If as few as only 1% were jihadists, there could be 6,800 jihadists in that group. If 10% were jihadists, that number of jihadists could be 68,000. In either case, Obama may be responsible for mass American casualties in the future, and such would be Obama’s legacy. Do we need 10,000 to 100,000 more Syrian Muslims that we have no possibility to vet in addition to the 680,000 Muslims which Obama has already admitted?

In any future consideration of Muslim immigration, it would be well for all Americans to consider carefully the words of the late-14th century Islamic writer and historian Ibn Khaldun:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.

Therefore, in view of Ibn Khaldun’s pronouncement, declaring that the mission of Islam to be “holy war” (jihad), when 21st century Muslims are killing and dying carrying out this 7th century traditional religious imperative, it is blind foolishness to assert that there is no relationship between Islam and Islamic terrorism.


On the subject of foreign immigrants coming into the U.S. (and on innumerable other subjects), Obama has zero credibility.

Twenty-two times he assured his fellow citizens that he did not have the executive authority to change immigration law, then he issued an executive order that purportedly grants executive amnesty to five million illegal aliens, as if he were promulgating a royal decree.

Believing Obama, regarding the Muslims he has admitted and the additional Muslims he wants to admit to the U.S., is a leap of faith that has scant justification.

The hope for the future rests with the Congress.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) and Rep. Paul Gozar (R-AZ) are cosponsoring H.R. 3314 that, if enacted, will put an immediate moratorium on the refugee resettlement program and prevent these potentially dangerous individuals from entering U.S. borders.

Contact your congressman to support this bill.

US Military Power: Army

US Miltary Power - Army

Credit: Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation | 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength

Scoring the US Army | Capacity, Capability, Readiness

The U.S. Army’s score dropped to ‘weak’ in the past year, driven primarily by further cuts to its size.

The U.S. Army is America’s primary land warfare component. Although it addresses all types of operations across the range of ground force employment, its chief value to the nation is its ability to defeat and destroy enemy land forces in battle.

As is the case with all of the other services, the U.S. Army has sought ways to absorb the budget cuts driven by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 in a responsible manner while still meeting the missions outlined in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG).1 Fiscal challenges have strained the Army’s ability to meet the national security requirements outlined in the DSG even as it has worked to find a proper balance among readiness, modernization, and end strength.2 The Army has continued to reduce its end strength and accept greater risk to its modernization programs to preserve readiness levels—an even more challenging problem given that its budget in FY 2015 was $4 billion lower than it was in FY 2014.

From a height of 566,000 in FY 2011, the Army’s end strength has shrunk to 490,000 Active Army soldiers in FY 2015.3 The ongoing debate between the White House and Congress (and within Congress) over funding levels as constrained by the BCA will determine whether the Army is able to sustain a projected end strength of 450,000—the minimum force level required to execute the DSG4 —or must reduce its end strength even further to 420,000 soldiers. It should be noted that in July 2015, the Army announced that it would accelerate its troop reduction timeline, shedding 40,000 soldiers by the end of FY 2018 to arrive at the 450,000 minimum outlined in the DSG.5 (Since these cuts are not in effect in FY 2015, they do not factor into the Army scoring for the 2016 Index.)

Operationally, the Army has 140,130 soldiers forward stationed across 150 countries.6 This is a slight decline from the previous year’s level of 150,090 soldiers.7 Of these 140,130 soldiers, approximately 45,000 are actively engaged in named operations, with the Army maintaining less than 8,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, a dramatic decline from the 32,000 stationed there in 2014.8


In FY 2015, total Army end strength was 1,042,000 soldiers: 490,000 Active soldiers, 202,000 in the Army Reserve, and 350,000 in the Army National Guard.9 In FY 2015, all soldiers in the Active Component were paid for in the base budget.10 This is unlike FY 2014, where a portion of personnel costs was paid through the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget function.

The Army also refers to its size in terms of brigade combat teams (BCTs). BCTs are the basic “building blocks” for employment of Army combat forces. They are normally employed within a larger framework of U.S. land operations but are sufficiently equipped and organized so that they can conduct independent operations as circumstances demand.11 A BCT averages 4,500 soldiers in strength depending on its variant: Stryker, Armored, or Infantry. A Stryker BCT is a mechanized infantry force organized around the Stryker ground combat vehicle (GCV). Armored BCTs are the Army’s principal armored unit and employ the Abrams main battle tank and the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle. An Infantry BCT is a highly maneuverable motorized unit.

The Army also has a separate air component organized into combat aviation brigades (CABs), which can also operate independently.12 CABs are made up of Army rotorcraft, such as the AH-64 Apache, and perform various roles including attack, reconnaissance, and lift.

CABs and Stryker, Infantry, and Armored BCTs make up the Army’s main combat force, but they do not make up the entirety of the Army. About 90,000 troops form the “Institutional Army” and provide support, such as preparing and training troops for deployments and overseeing military schools and Army educational institutions.13 The troops constituting the “Institutional Army” cannot be reduced at the same ratio as BCTs or CABs, and the Army plans to insulate these soldiers from drawdown and restructuring proposals in order to “retain a slightly more senior force in the Active Army to allow growth if needed.”14 In addition, a great number of functional or multi-functional support brigades provide air defense, engineering, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), military police, military intelligence, and medical support among other types of battlefield support for BCTs.

While end strength is a valuable metric in understanding Army capacity, counting BCTs is a more telling measure of actual hard-power capacity. In concert with the end strength reduction to 490,000 soldiers, the Active Army underwent brigade restructuring that decreased the number of BCTs from 38 to 32 by the end of FY 2015.15 As a part of this reorganization, the Army is also adding a third maneuver battalion to its infantry and armored BCTs by the end of FY 2015.16 Additionally, all BCTs will receive additional engineer and fire support capabilities (i.e., additional 105mm and/or 155mm howitzers).17 In FY 2015, the Active Army retained 13 CABs, and the Army National Guard maintained eight CABs,18 although under the Aviation Restructure Initiative, two more CABs are expected to be inactivated from the Active Component by the end of the fiscal year.19

The reduction in end strength in the past year has had a disproportionate effect on BCTs. To illustrate, the Active Army has been downsized from 45 BCTs (552,100 soldiers) in FY 2013 to 32 BCTs (490,000 soldiers) in FY 2015. Thus, a 12 percent reduction in troop numbers resulted in a 29 percent reduction in BCTs. The Army Chief of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2015 that the Army can meet the missions outlined in the 2012 DSG with this current force size, but he also warned that the continuation of sequestration would prevent the Army from executing the DSG.20


The Army’s main combat platforms are ground vehicles and rotorcraft. The M1A1 Abrams and M2 Bradley vehicles are used in Armored BCTs, and Stryker BCTs, as one would expect, are equipped with Stryker vehicles. Infantry BCTs rely on the inventory of M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs). CABs are made up of Army helicopters including AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Black Hawks, and CH-47 Chinooks.

Overall, the Army’s equipment inventory is relatively healthy. While some equipment has been worn down by usage in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has undertaken a “reset” initiative that is discussed below in the readiness section. The bulk of Army vehicles are young because of recent remanufacture programs for the Abrams and Bradley that have extended the service life of both vehicles. For example, the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank has recently been completely upgraded and is now only 5.5 years old.21 The Army also maintains an inventory of battlefield-tested and reliable rotorcraft, including its UH-60 Black Hawks, AH-64 Apaches, and CH-47 Chinooks.

The Army has been methodically replacing the oldest variants of its rotorcraft and upgrading others that still have plenty of airframe service life. Today, the UH-60M, which is a newer version of the UH-60A, makes up more than half of the total UH-60 inventory. Similarly, the Chinook, the Army’s heavy-lift helicopter, is expected to remain in service until 2030.

In addition to the viability of today’s equipment, the military must ensure the health of future programs. While future modernizing programs are not “current hard power capabilities” that can be applied against an enemy force, they are a significant indicator of a service’s overall fitness for sustained combat operations: The service may be able to engage an enemy but be forced to do so with aging equipment and no program in place to maintain viability or endurance in sustained operations.

The U.S. military services are continually assessing how best to stay a step ahead of competitors, whether to modernize the force today with currently available technology or wait to see what their investments in research and development produce years down the road. Technologies mature and proliferate, becoming more accessible to a wider array of actors over time. U.S. forces will be challenged by state and non-state competitors that will leverage the latest developments in matériel, computing, platform sciences, and designs.

The Army is currently undertaking several modernization programs to replace or improve its ground combat vehicles and current rotorcraft fleet. However, budget reductions levied in previous years have significantly affected modernization, with Research and Development, Acquisition, and Procurement accounts all experiencing cuts. In fact, “the Army has ended 20 programs, delayed 125 and restructured 124.”22 For example, current and projected budget pressures led the Army to cancel the ground combat vehicle program,23 which was intended to replace the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle, to free funding for its readiness account.

The Army’s most high-profile joint service Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), a program shared with the Marine Corps. Intended to combine the protection offered by Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) with the mobility of the original unarmored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), the JLTV is a follow-on to the HMMWV (also known as the Humvee) and features design improvements that will increase its survivability against anti-armor weapons and the now commonly found improvised explosive device (IED) threat.

The JLTV is still in development, but the Army plans to procure a total of 49,099 vehicles,24 replacing only a portion of the current HMMWV fleet. The program is heavily focused on vehicle survivability and is not intended as a one-for-one replacement of the HMMWV.25 In fact, the JLTV is intended to take on high-risk missions traditionally tasked to the HMMWV, to include scouting and troop transport in adverse environments, guerrilla ambushes, and artillery bombardment.26 Several issues, including changed requirements and some technical obstacles in the early development phases, have delayed the program from its originally intended schedule by about one year. In FY 2015, the Army purchased 184 JLTVs,27
and the proposed funds for FY 2016 supported a low rate initial production (LRIP) decision in 2015 and selection of the vendor for production.28

Other Army MDAPs of note in FY 2016 include the M1A2 Abrams, M2 Bradley, M109A6 Paladin 155mm Howitzers, and Stryker.29 These platforms will undergo various structural modifications and upgrades that are needed to keep them ready to meet future contingencies.

The M1A2 is currently being enhanced with Vehicle Health Management and Power Train Improvement & Integration Optimization in order to upgrade the tank’s reliability, durability, and fuel efficiency so that it can provide ground forces with superior battlefield firepower.30 Similarly, the M109A6 is being outfitted with the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program, which consists of a new drivetrain and suspension components, in order to sustain the platform’s utility in combat through 2050.31 Planned upgrades for the Stryker include a major Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) aimed at improving mechanical and electrical power, an enhanced chassis, and electronics network.32

The Army’s rotorcraft modernization programs do not include any new platform designs. Instead, the Army is upgrading current rotorcraft to account for more advanced systems.

The Army’s main modernization programs are not encumbered by any major problems, but there is concern about the future direction of Army capability. For example, cancellation of the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program raises the question of replacing the M2 Bradley. Although the DOD officially cancelled the GCV program, the possibility of replacing the M2 Bradley at some point in the future could still be considered, as the Army set aside $150 million in funding for GCV research and development in FY 2015 despite the absence of a budget request for the program for that year.33 Updating the capability that the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle provides remains a requirement, and the Army is currently “refining concepts, requirements, and key technologies” in preparation for a future modernization program.34

The Army is also continuing development efforts for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) to replace its 1960s-vintage M113 Armored Personnel Carrier.35 The AMPV will have five mission modules, including General Purpose, Medical Treatment, Medical Evacuation, Mortar Carrier, and Mission Command.36 Because it is still in development37 and has not yet entered LRIP,38 the AMPV is not yet an MDAP and is not included in this year’s scoring.


As a result of sequestration in FY 2013, the Army experienced a shortage in readiness funding that resulted in “significantly and rapidly degraded Army readiness,” which the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff testified would “translate directly into FY 14 and beyond.”39 Although a higher level of funding in FY 2014 allowed for some degree of budget relief, the Army received $5.1 billion less in funding dedicated to rebuilding its readiness in FY 2015.40 Army Vice Chief of Staff General Daniel Allyn explained that:

[T]o operate under this budget, we are significantly reducing key installation services, individual training events, and modernization to such an extent as to jeopardize future readiness and quality of life. For example, Logistics Readiness Centers were underfunded by $350 million in FY15, which covers funding for dining facilities, contract operations at ammo supply points, central issue facilities, maintenance, laundry and dry cleaning operations. In addition to the effect on Soldier quality of life, these cuts force Commanders to divert Soldiers from training to perform logistics tasks.41

Recognizing the risk that degraded readiness introduces into its ability to respond to an emergent threat, the Army chose to prioritize operational readiness over other expenditures, such as near-term modernization, for FY 2015.42 A return to “full spectrum combat readiness” would require sustained investment and a projected timeline stretching to FY 2023.43

This tiered readiness strategy means that only a limited number of BCTs are available and ready for decisive action. Accordingly, the tiered readiness model employed by the Army has resulted in approximately one-third of the 32 Active BCTs being ready for contingency operations in FY 2015.44 This is an improvement from early in 2014 when 80 percent of the Army was considered to be “at a lower readiness level.”45 As stated, the Army had prioritized funding in readiness over capacity and modernization, allowing it to regain some of the readiness lost as a result of sequestration the prior year.

The Army uses Combat Training Centers (CTCs) to train its forces to desired levels of proficiency. Specifically, the mission of the CTC Program is to “provide realistic Joint and combined arms training” to approximate actual combat and increase “unit readiness for deployment and warfighting.”46 In FY 2015, the Army financed 19 CTC rotations, the same number as in FY 2014, despite lower levels of funding.47 Although utilizing CTCs continues to be a priority for the Army,48 resource constraints have limited investment in readiness.

In FY 2015, the Army supported the Army Contingency Force (ACF) initiative that is developing “a contingency response force which provides Combatant Commanders an initial response capability that can achieve early objectives for most contingency plans.”49 Under the ACF model, the Army maintains readiness for only 24 of the 60 total BCTs maintained by the Active, National Guard, and Reserve Components, which “receive sufficient funding to conduct training at CTCs and home station.” The other 36 BCTs maintained by the Total Army are limited to “minimum Individual/Crew/Squad resourcing levels through sufficient Training Support Systems.”50 The aforementioned numbers can be misleading, as the Active Component maintains only 32 BCTs in total and realistically maintains only about 30 percent of them at acceptable levels of combat readiness.51

Another key factor in readiness is sustainment of equipment. At the most basic level, a unit’s equipment must work when the unit is deployed. As a result of extensive combat usage in Afghanistan and the lingering effects of nearly a decade of combat operations in Iraq, the Army has continued with its reset program to restore used equipment to desired capability or to replace worn-out equipment for use in future engagements. In 2014, the Army estimated that it would require three years of reset funding “after redeployment of the last piece of equipment from theater” to complete redeployment and retrograde operations.52

Reduced funding throughout FY 2013, a consequence of sequestration, forced the Army to postpone the reset of several pieces of equipment, totaling “700 vehicles, 28 aircraft, and 2,000 weapons” in 2014.53 However, the Army was able to synchronize equipment retrograde out of Afghanistan efficiently in 2014, and “retrograde operations remain on schedule” in 2015.54 Furthermore, after identifying “potential requirement reductions in contractor logistics and training support” and reducing depot maintenance, the Army was able to enhance “the capability of its prepositioned stocks program” without raising the associated costs.55 If the necessary funding is again reduced by the BCA, the Army’s efforts to recover from recent operations and prepare for the future will be further stymied.

Scoring the U.S. Army

Capacity Score: Weak

Historical evidence shows that, on average, the Army needs 21 brigade combat teams to fight one major regional conflict. Based on a conversion of roughly 3.5 BCTs per division, the Army deployed 21 BCTs in Korea, 25 in Vietnam, 14 in the Persian Gulf War, and around four in Operation Iraqi Freedom—an average of 16 BCTs (or 21 if the much smaller OIF contingency is excluded). In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Obama Administration recommended a force capable of deploying 45 active BCTs. Previous government force-sizing documents discuss Army force structure in terms of divisions; they consistently advocate for 10–11 divisions, which equates to roughly 37 active BCTs.

Considering the varying recommendations of 35–45 BCTs and the actual experience of nearly 21 BCTs deployed per major engagement, 42 BCTs would be needed to fight two MRCs.56 Taking into account the need for a strategic reserve, the Active Army force should also include an additional 20 percent of the 42 BCTs.

  • Two-MRC Benchmark: 50 brigade combat teams.
  • Actual 2015 Level: 32 brigade combat teams.

The Army’s current Active Component BCT capacity meets 64 percent of the two-MRC benchmark and thus is scored as “weak.”

Capability Score: Marginal

The Army’s aggregate capability score remains “marginal.” While the Army will continue to pursue a model of tiered readiness with the aim of improving, if only slightly, troop readiness levels in FY 2015 over the previous year, the service’s overall capability score remains static due to continued reductions to end strength, which degrades capability. Capability is further diminished by the fact that the Army now has fewer soldiers deployed around the world than it has had in recent years.

Additionally, in spite of progress with the JLTV and AMPV, subsequent budget reductions and continuing resolutions have led to inadequate and shortsighted funding for the development of future modernization programs, negatively affecting platform innovation and modernization. These subsequent reductions have set back the Army’s development of future capabilities needed to remain dominant in any operational environment.

This aggregate score is a result of “marginal” scores for “Age of Equipment,” “Size of Modernization Programs,” and “Health of Modernization Programs.” The Army scored “weak” for “Capability of Equipment.”

Readiness Score: Weak

Only 12 Active BCTs were ready for action according to official Army testimony by the Vice Chief of Staff in March 2015.57 The Army had 32 BCTs; therefore, roughly a third of the Active Army was considered ready for combat. For that reason, this Index assesses Army readiness as “weak.” However, it should be noted that the Vice Chief of Staff also reported in March that of the BCTs fully trained for “decisive action operations,” the readiness of nine had been consumed in support of ongoing operations, which means that only three were uncommitted and ready for use.58 With this in mind, actual readiness is therefore likely dangerously close to nearing a state of “very weak.”

Overall U.S. Army Score: Weak

The Army’s overall score is calculated based on an unweighted average of its capacity, capability, and readiness scores. The average score was 2.3; thus, the overall Army score is “weak.” This was derived from the aggregate score for capacity (“weak”); capability (“marginal”); and readiness (“weak”).

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