Displaying posts published in

February 2017

MY SAY: UNRWA: The Scam That Keeps on Scamming by Ruth King

Many years ago, when I graduated from college, a friend and classmate got her first job in the visitor’s service of the United Nations. There were two perks. One was a free parking space and the other privileges to the debates in the General Assembly. Thanks to this I attended many sessions in the gallery as her guest. The “distinguished” members most often started their disquisitions by telling a humorous anecdote from their respective nations. They suffered greatly in translation but I can offer the punch line to a real UN joke–namely The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out relief and works programs for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. In June 2017, its mandate and funding come up for review. It deserves to be shut down.

First of all, it is a numbers racket. According to its own statement: “When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.”

Even if we accept the questionable number of 750,000 Arabs who left Israel, how is it that sixty-seven years later–again from the home page, we read: “UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees. It has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees, defined as ‘persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’ The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.“

Again, in its words: “UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty.”

Since World War Two, hundreds of millions of displaced persons from every continent have been relocated. They have had to learn new languages, new alphabets and adapt to new cultural mores. They have become participants in the politics of their adopted countries. How is it then that only Palestinian Arabs merit assistance? Furthermore, why has the status of “refugee” become a heritable entitlement, bequeathed from generation to generation?

When members of the media traipse through the camps, they are seldom shown nearby housing with facilities and running water. Instead local Arabs stage themselves near running sewers, cynically using children as props. As soon as the journalists move on to the next stop in their bash-Israel “fact finding” tour, the cast moves back to their updated lodgings.

Today the world is confronted and affronted by a tsunami of refugees from the Middle East. They flee jihad and tribal and civil warfare. The demand for haven and social services is enormous and yet UNRWA services only Palestinian Arabs in camps in Gaza (why Gaza, which is now ruled by Arabs?), Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

In the midst of the mayhem in Syria, on Feb. 1, 2017 Mohammed Abdi Adar, a Somali national, assumed his duties as Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the Syrian Arab Republic. He describes his mandate thus: “It is an important opportunity to serve Palestine refugees in Syria,” said Mr. Abdi Adar. “I look forward to working with the Syrian Government and other partners to help alleviate the suffering of Palestine refugees, who like the Syrians have experienced the dire consequences of the crisis over the last six years.” Why only the “Palestinians?” This is a form of “profiling” that raises no hackles among Western hypocrites.

And UNWRA’s so called relief is a canard since in its own words, conditions have worsened: “Over the years, these camps have transformed from temporary ‘tent cities’ into hyper-congested masses of multi-story buildings with narrow alleys, characterized by high concentrations of poverty and extreme overcrowding. The camps are considered to be among the densest urban environments in the world, but because camp structures were built for temporary use, over the decades the buildings have become overcrowded, critically substandard and in many cases life-threatening.”

Why after 67 years are Palestinian Arabs a priority when hundreds of thousands are facing death and violence perpetrated by Arabs on other Arabs?

Meet the DNC’s New Organizer in Chief Tom Perez is both a hard-core progressive and a hard-fighting party insider. By John Fund

The election of a new chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday was clearly an inside-baseball affair. Only 17 percent of Democratic voters had even heard it was happening, according to a new Morning Consult poll.

Media analysts breathlessly touted the race as one between Representative Keith Ellison, pushed by the forces behind Bernie Sanders’s insurgent challenge last year, and Tom Perez, a former secretary of labor who was supported by Joe Biden and effusively praised by Barack Obama and other establishment voices.

In reality, both candidates are hard-core progressives committed to the party’s scorched-earth opposition to the Trump administration. As Jeff Stein of Vox noted:

The purpose of this fight can appear somewhat mystifying. Perez was one of the most left-leaning members of Obama’s Cabinet, muting the contest’s ideological stakes by making it hard to understand what precise ideological division the party’s two factions are fighting over.

The more salient difference was in the candidates’ varying degrees of professionalism. Ellison, a former community organizer in Minneapolis, simply didn’t convince enough DNC members that he could raise enough money or manage the infrastructure that the party needs to rebuild if it is going to climb out of its electoral hole.

Even though Perez has won only one election in his life (for a Maryland county council), he convinced party insiders that he could rebuild the party’s cadre.

Conservatives need to pay attention, now that the “whip-smart” Perez (Obama’s words) is running the DNC.

“After nearly a decade as a powerful federal bureaucrat, Tom Perez will finally be able to be out in the open about using the law to help Democrats,” Christian Adams, a former career Department of Justice lawyer who worked for Perez and now runs the conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, told me. “At Justice, he used the law to help Democrats win elections. Now he can finally be honest about his agenda.”

Adams was one of several critics at Justice who observed just how political and biased Perez could be as he headed the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ from 2009 to 2013. In July 2012, a federal district-court judge concluded that the DOJ’s own documents in the New Black Panther Party case “appeared to contradict” the sworn testimony of Perez before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The New Black Panthers stood accused in early 2009 of being behind a blatant form of voter intimidation after two of their members stood outside a Philadelphia polling place with nightsticks yelling racial epithets at both black and white voters. After the case was effectively dismissed at the very moment it was on the verge of victory by Justice, the watchdog group Judicial Watch was refused access to documents on the case it had requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The case was heard by Judge Reggie Walton, the same federal judge who presided over the conviction of Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

Walton awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to Judicial Watch for Justice’s withholding of the documents. He also made it clear that while the original decision to dismiss the New Black Panther case pre-dated Perez’s appointment to the Justice Department, his direct involvement in the case’s aftermath may have contributed to a cover-up of the decision’s origins. Walton wrote:

The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision.

Palestinians: Why a “Regional Peace Process” Will Fail by Khaled Abu Toameh

Many Palestinians sometimes refer to Arab leaders and regimes as the “real enemies” of the Palestinians. They would rather have France, Sweden, Norway and Belgium oversee a peace process with Israel than any of the Arab countries.

Hani al-Masr, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, echoed this skepticism. He, in fact, believes the Arabs want to help Israel “liquidate” the Palestinian cause.

The Jordanians are worried that a “regional solution” would promote the idea of replacing the Hashemite kingdom with a Palestinian state. Former Jordanian Minister of Information Saleh al-Qallab denounced the talk of a “regional conference” as a “poisonous gift and conspiracy” against Jordan and the Palestinians.

The Lebanese have for decades dreamed of the day they could rid themselves of the Palestinian refugee camps and their inhabitants, who have long been subjected to apartheid and discriminatory laws.

Israel as a Jewish state is anathema to Palestinian aspirations. Any Arab or Palestinian leader who promotes such compromise is taking his life in his hands. And Palestinian history will record him as a “traitor” who sold out to the Jews and surrendered to American and Israeli pressure.

Abbas and his Ramallah cohorts are already up at night worrying about the talking between Israel and some Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Such “normalization”, in the view of the PA, is to be reserved for after Israel submits to its demands.

Any “regional solution” involving Arab countries would be doomed to fail because the Palestinians and their Arab brethren hate each other. Any solution offered by the Arab governments will always be regarded as an “American-Zionist dictate.”

The ISIS Terrorist the Left Loved A left-wing hero kills and dies for ISIS. Daniel Greenfield

Before Jamal Al-Harith blew himself up near Mosul, he had been a celebrity and a hero of the left. He had received a million pounds for his “suffering” at Gitmo and been impersonated on stage.

He was played by Shaun Parkes at London’s New Ambassadors Theatre and by Andrew Stewart-Jones in the New York production at the Bleecker Street Theatre. The play was Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. The title was an interesting one considering that the play was defending Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists who had been fighting for the freedom to murder non-Muslims and oppress women.

Andrew Stewart-Jones has a role on Gotham, Shaun Parkes has appeared on The Nightmare Worlds of H.G. Wells and Jamal Al-Harith headed off to join ISIS where he got to star in his own martyrdom video.

As Shakespeare’s Jacques declaims, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Jamal Al-Harith was a better actor than any of the actors who played him. And he knew that the secret to great theater is to bring down the house. But he also had an audience of leftists eager to suspend disbelief when an Islamic terrorist is lying to them.

A year before the 7/7 bombings tore apart London, West End theatergoers were treated to these sad sack stories of Muslim terrorists with British citizenship being detained at Gitmo. Then it was the turn of New Yorkers at a theater barely a mile from Ground Zero under the auspices of the Culture Project and its mission of “socially conscious theater”. And what’s more socially conscious than Islamic terrorism?

The actors playing the ISIS killer, in a production Variety dubbed a “chilling expose of the U.S. government policies”, recited his lies that he only went “to find out about the religion”. In the version of the terrorist’s fairy tale distributed by the left from the Guardian to the New York Times, he was actually a victim of the Taliban, wrongly detained and tortured by the Bush administration.

Night after night, melancholy actors in orange jumpsuits wearing steel chains, declaimed Al-Harith’s lies and excuses to lefty audiences who fueled their outrage with imaginary Muslim suffering. Meanwhile Americans, Brits, Iraqis and Afghans were being massacred by the friends of their real life counterparts.

Progressive theatergoers glowed when Al-Harith compared his time in Gitmo to the suffering of concentration camp inmates. “I got put in isolation for because I refused to wear my wrist band. I said, ‘In concentration camps they were given tattoos, and now they’ve given us these, it’s just the same really.'” And who could be more similar to a Jewish concentration camp inmate than a member of an Islamic ideology that believes in exterminating all the Jews?

How many of them cheered when he declared, “You know, I’ll walk out from here when I leave free, because I haven’t done anything at all.”

Aliens Trespassing Sen. Schumer, his congressional cohorts, and leftist hypocrisy. Michael Cutler

In order to minimize the dangers posed by aliens who run our borders and evade the inspection process, open borders / immigration anarchists insist that such illegal aliens are simply entering “Undocumented.” However, the unmistakeable truth is that these aliens are, in the parlance of immigration enforcement personnel, “Entering Without Inspection” (EWI).

For decades, beginning with the duplicitous efforts of President Jimmy Carter: Originator Of The Orwellian Term ‘Undocomented Immigrant’ to blur the distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens, globalists inside as well as outside our government, have sought to undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Recently, many journalists have whined that illegal aliens who purportedly have no “serious criminal histories” have been arrested by ICE under the Trump administration, ignoring that aliens who enter the United States illegally or violate the terms of lawful admissions are subject to arrest and removal (deportation) irrespective of whether or not they violated any other laws.

An alien who enters without inspection violates Title 8 U.S. Code § 1325 – Improper entry by alien and may face up to 2 years in prison if he/she has done this more than once.

Furthermore, an alien who has been previously deported and subsequently reenters without authority commits a felony that may, if the alien has a serious criminal history, carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison under Title 8 U.S. Code § 1326 – Reentry of removed aliens.

Congressional Democrats and some Republicans such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham have attacked President Trump for his plans to secure the U.S./Mexican border and effectively enforce our immigration laws.

McCain and Graham have aligned themselves with Senator Chuck Schumer likely because of their shared globalist views on immigration. They were, after all, members of the “Gang of Eight” or, as I have come to refer to them, “The Eight Gangsters.”

Obama Lackey Tom Perez Takes Over DNC Obama’s Democratic Party gears up to wage war on the president. Matthew Vadum

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez’s weekend victory over Keith Ellison in the race to become DNC chairman shows Democrats learned nothing from their historic shellacking in November and that Barack Obama remains firmly in control of the party.

The win by community organizer and Obama loyalist Perez effectively constitutes a merger of sorts between the Democratic National Committee and Obama’s well-funded Trump-resisting pressure group, Organizing for Action. Perez replaces interim DNC chairman Donna Brazile who herself replaced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The congresswoman was forced out last summer after her role in rigging the nomination process in favor of Hillary Clinton was exposed.

The Perez victory is also a sign that it’s business as usual for the deeply divided party that voters reduced to a regional rump in November and whose leaders think they lost because of bad messaging instead of bad ideas. The DNC, after all, is on record as endorsing the violent, racist Black Lives Matter movement and of accusing American police officers of systematically committing genocide against blacks. These people have learned nothing and are anxious to do the bidding of their unruly radical base that is already determined to impeach President Trump after a little over a month in office.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., the consensus before the vote among conservatives this writer spoke to seemed to be that Ellison would be the better choice to lead Democrats because he is less palatable to Americans in the heartland who are turned off by his pro-Islamist, racist rhetoric. “Ellison would scare the sh** out of Americans in what the Left calls ‘flyover country,’” one participant said.

Alas, it was not to be.

On Saturday in Atlanta, Perez won the post in the second round of balloting, defeating the Muslim congressman from Minnesota on a vote of 235 to 200. To promote unity in the severely divided party, Perez asked that Ellison be made deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee. DNC members approved the appointment on a voice vote.

After the vote, Perez vowed to rebuild the party at all levels from “school board to the Senate” and reach out to disaffected voters in rural America. “We lead with our values and we lead with our actions,” he said, adding the party will concentrate on defending Social Security and Medicare and on “growing good jobs in this economy.”

“You know, our unity as a party is our greatest strength. And it’s his worst nightmare,” he said in a reference to President Trump. “And, frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin.”

Good Riddance Hijab-wearing Muslim NSC staffer quits, blames Trump, claims victim status. Robert Spencer

The establishment media has found a new heroine: Rumana Ahmed, a hijab-wearing Muslim woman who worked at the National Security Council during the Obama administration and for eight days into the Trump administration, at which point she quit.

Ahmed explained: “I had to leave because it was an insult walking into this country’s most historic building every day under an administration that is working against and vilifying everything I stand for as an American and as a Muslim.” That’s enough to send the media into self-righteous ululations of anti-Trump fury, but as always, there is more to this story than what the media is telling you, and a good deal about Rumana Ahmed that they would prefer you did not know.

In her piece in The Atlantic explaining why she left the Trump NSC (and it is important to note that she wasn’t fired by her supposedly “Islamophobic” new bosses; she quit), Ahmed sounds themes of post-9/11 Muslim victimhood that have become familiar tropes among Leftists: after recounting her idyllic life “living the American dream,” she says: “After 9/11, everything would change. On top of my shock, horror, and heartbreak, I had to deal with the fear some kids suddenly felt towards me. I was glared at, cursed at, and spat at in public and in school. People called me a ‘terrorist’ and told me, ‘go back to your country.’”

Not surprisingly, Ahmed made no mention of the fact that this Muslim victimhood narrative has been sullied, if not vitiated entirely, by the high number of “anti-Muslim hate crimes” that turn out to have been faked by Muslims. The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Muslims have on many occasions not hesitated to stoop even to fabricating “hate crimes,” including attacks on mosques and even murders: a New Jersey Muslim was found guilty of murder that he tried to portray as an “Islamophobic” attack, and in 2014 in California, a Muslim was found guilty of killing his wife, after first blaming her murder on “Islamophobia.”

Ahmed blamed yet another murder on “Islamophobia”: “A harsher world began to reemerge in 2015,” she wrote in The Atlantic. “In February, three young American Muslim students were killed in their Chapel Hill home by an Islamophobe. Both the media and administration were slow to address the attack, as if the dead had to be vetted before they could be mourned. It was emotionally devastating.”

In reality, there is no evidence that the Chapel Hill murders were committed by an “Islamophobe.” U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand declared the day after the murders: “The events of yesterday are not part of a targeting campaign against Muslims in North Carolina.” Rand said that there was “no information this is part of an organized event against Muslims.” Nor has any emerged since then, although that fact has not stopped Islamic advocacy groups from routinely treating these murders as evidence of a wave of anti-Muslim hatred in the U.S. Ruhana Ahmed in The Atlantic abets this cynical and disingenuous agenda.

Peter Smith: Stoning as a Last Resort

Deuteronomy, if taken literally, would seem to prescribe execution as the solution to delinquent children. Ah, but then there are those informed commentaries and qualifications, which say the opposite. The problem with Islam is that none can nor dare filter Koranic literalism.
I switch on TV. Experienced interviewer Andrew Knut is posing this loaded question to a representative of a rabbinic council. Should you have your rebellious son stoned to death, he asks?

As you can imagine, this startles the rabbi. What the heck do you mean?

Well here it is, says Knut. I am reading from a Jewish Bible; in particular from Deuteronomy chapter 21 verses 18 to 21. He duly reads the passage.

“If a man will have a wayward and rebellious son, who does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother, and they discipline him, but he does not hearken to them; then his father and his mother shall grasp him and take him out to the elders of the city, ‘This son of ours is wayward and rebellious; he does not hearken to our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard’. All the men of his city shall pelt him with stones and he shall die…”

Ah, now, yes, you have to understand the whole process, the rabbi protests. Stoning is very much a last resort. A last resort indeed, he emphasises. First, you must as parents hug you son and buy him presents to convince him to give up his rebellious ways. If this fails then you must give him a good talking to and warn him of the consequences of his bad behaviour. Make him sleep in the shed. Only when all of this fails do you hand him over to be stoned to death. So you see there is nothing at all to see here.

Knut is not mollified. Well, it still seems a tad extreme to me, he says. Surely you must disavow this passage in your Bible? It is the only civilised thing to do. Don’t you think?

OK, you got me! None of the above actually happened. But I guess you guessed that. What is true, however, is my citation of the passage in Deuteronomy. In my Jewish Bible there is an accompanying annotation. It explains that the Sages (great Jewish scholars of old) constrain the applicability of the passage to someone who will “degenerate into a monstrous human being” and moreover “state that there never was and never will be a capital case involving such a son.”

Here is my non-scholarly take. The Jewish religion and, by extension, the Christian religion (as it, too, encompasses the Old Testament) are willing to deviate from taking God at His literal Word, as it is recorded in the Bible. Literalists, they are not. As a Christian, I am personally happy with this. There is a fair amount in the Bible that it’s best not to take too literally. Inspired and guided by God though it is; we should be cognisant that flawed men of their time wrote it; and others, also flawed, selected, translated and compiled its various parts.

Therefore, for example, I remain open to the possibility that a man lying with a man might not be regarded by God as an abomination (Leviticus, 18:22). And, to move to the New Testament and St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:22), I seriously doubt that wives “should submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” According to David Horrell (An Introduction to the Study of Paul), this letter might not have been written by Paul at all but by a later disciple of his, concerned about the prominence of women in the early Christian church. Who knows? In any event, in all things, we should not forsake our wits. God gave them to us.

And now to something completely different; to something that actually happened. The path-breaking Andrew Bolt asked Keysar Trad, representing the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, what he thought of Koranic verse IV: 34. Why do I say ‘path-breaking’? Because this is only the second time I have witnessed a commentator quote the Koran to an Islamic representative as a way to put him or her on the spot and forestall the usual distractive spin — that ‘religion of peace’ sophistry. And the first time? That was Bolt too.

The verse is clear enough, though it varies in detail depending on the version of the Koran. Mine is the Pickthall version. “Men are in charge of women,” it says. There is nothing much different here from the passage in Ephesians that I referred to above. However, the Koranic passage goes on to say, “As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them, and banish them to beds apart and scourge them.” Often scourge is written as “beat”, which sounds a bit less barbarous. But, whichever word is used, this is not a good look.

Tony Thomas: Chicken Littles Clucking About Trump

Swapping leftist absurdities over coffee is every fashionable nitwit’s democratic right, and fair enough too. What isn’t fair is that taxpayers must underwrite Geraldine Doogue’s faux profundities, not to mention those of her latest Saturday Extra guest.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most ardent ABC Leftist of them all? What a tough question! Such a crowded field of candidates, parading their green-left credentials day and night! The ABC Act (1983) does include the provision that our taxpayer-funded national broadcaster gather and present news and information impartially, but who cares about silly old legislation?

Anyway, I won’t keep you in suspense. My Captain’s Pick for ABC Leftist laurels is Geraldine Doogue, host of ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra, who also hosts ABC TV’s Compass[1].

Her 15-minute 7.30am session last Saturday (Feb 25) was about what a fascist Donald Trump is.[2] Doogue’s interviewee was London University literature academic Sarah Churchwell[3], whose views of Trump-as-fascist were never contradicted and, indeed, sometimes topped by Doogue’s own hyperbolic contributions. In fact Doogue and Churchwell – billed by her university as “one of the UK’s most prominent academics” — spent their 15 minutes competing to paint Trump in direst hues.

Churchwell is still traumatised by the defeat of her idol, Hillary Clinton. As she wrote for the Guardian (UK), “Stop suggesting that Clinton failed us. The truth is, we failed her.”

Doogue sought out Churchwell because of another Guardian article headed, ‘It will be called Americanism’: the US writers who imagined a fascist future”. Churchwell had gone looking for literary references to fascist dictators (e.g. in Orwell’s 1984 and Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism) and claimed they all presaged the arrival of fascist President Trump.

Doogue lauded Churchwell’s lame attempt at a knife-job as both “fresh” and “clever”. Inspired, Doogue went looking herself for literary allusions to fascists and regaled her radio audience with them, sometimes giggling about the parallels with certain recent events (the Trump presidency is now all of five weeks old, let it be remembered).

Here’s a sample from Doogue’s Saturday Extra interview:

Doogue: You look at comments including Vice-President Henry Wallace quoted in a 1944 article, about American fascism. Quote, “…a Fascist is someone whose lust for money and power is combined with such intensity of intolerance towards other races, parties, classes, regions or nations, as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.”

It’s a pretty devastating old quote. You don’t think Trump is a fascist though really?

Churchwell: Yes actually I think he is. I do, I do.

Finally: New Rules of Engagement for U.S. Troops in Iraq By Michael Walsh

As the utterly pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on, going on 16 years after 9/11, the U.S. has finally moved to cut some of the bureaucratic red tape that’s prevented our troops from getting the job done for the past eight years:

Just a few months ago, Lt. Col. Browning’s phone conversation would have been impossible. Rather than request assistance directly, his call would have likely been routed through a joint command center much farther from the battle zone.
In the fight against ISIS in Mosul, the United States has adjusted its rules of engagement as American and other international troops are now closer to front-line fighting than before. During the push to take Mosul International Airport on Thursday, American and European advisers were embedded with forward Iraqi rapid response and special forces units.

Didn’t Obama say he ended the war in Iraq? Never mind:

Coalition officials say the changes are helping speed up Iraqi military gains, but they mark a steady escalation of U.S. involvement in Iraq that also reflects lingering shortcomings on the part of Iraq’s armed forces and growing political and military pressure to finish the Mosul operation quickly. This closer relationship is new.

In the lead-up to the operation to retake Mosul, U.S. forces steadily increased their footprint in Iraq, increasing the number of troops in the country and moving outposts closer to front-line fighting. But the number of U.S. forces on or near the front lines remained relatively small.

Under the December directive and an additional directive issued a few weeks ago, Browning said advisers like him embedded at the brigade level are now able to directly deliver support such as airstrikes and artillery fire to the units they’re partnered with. Previously, such support “would have gone through a whole bureaucracy and through Baghdad,” he said.

The spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, confirmed to The Associated Press the rules of engagement in the fight against ISIS in Iraq were adjusted by the December directive, explaining that some coalition troops were given the “ability to call in airstrikes without going through a strike cell.”

Its about time. One of the reasons, historically, that American forces have been superior is that combat decisions were made on the ground, right down to the junior officer level; this was one of our strategic advantages over the Wehrmacht in World War II. But of course under the Democrats (and, to be fair, under Bush as well), American troops were hobbled so as not to give offense to our “coalition partners” and to mollify the excitable locals.

Now, please, let’s get on with it, finish ISIS, and get the troops home.