BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Author: Ben Weingarten (Page 2 of 23)

The Truth About the Left’s Disgraceful and Utterly Dishonest Savaging of Trump NSC Deputy Michael Anton

Check out my latest at Conservative Review in which I systematically dismantle the Left’s scurrilous attacks on Michael Anton, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications formerly known as ‘Publius Decius Mus,’ and explain the real reason behind the Left’s efforts to smear him and others at the National Security Council and beyond.

Here’s a taste:

The Left has aimed its sights in particular at the National Security Council in its dishonest savaging of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, having already claimed the scalp of Dr. Monica Crowley by presenting her as a plagiarist in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

For to kneecap the National Security Council would be to prevent a sea change in national security and foreign policy — a clean break with the failed bipartisan establishment’s Wilsonian internationalist policies of the last 15 years and beyond.

In particular, the Left likely cannot bear a national security policy that is threat-oriented — that sees the size, scope, and nature of the global jihadist threat, among other ones, and wishes to orient our policy towards eliminating it.

To that, we should pose the question as to why? Why trust Iran? Why trust that current vetting procedures keep out Sharia supremacists? Why trust that in spite of growing jihadist attacks, rape, female genital mutilation, and honor killings in the West that all is going to be fine?

When a determined enemy says it wishes to kill you, does it not behoove you to drop the politically correct blinders and consider taking it seriously?

As the howls of Nazi, racist, sexist and bigot begin to lose their sting, depreciated in their overuse and misattribution, expect the campaign to toxify anyone associated with the Trump administration to grow more desperate and dishonest.

For when you find a desperate and dishonest opponent, you are likely on to something worth pursuing.

Read the whole thing at Conservative Review.

What the Reality-Denying Left Misses About Trump’s Immigration and Terror Entry Executive Order

In the false narrative the media has generated to try and discredit President Trump’s immigration/terror entry executive order, lost is the reasonable basis for the directive and the prudent nature of its substance.

As I note in a new piece at Conservative Review:

Opponents of the order would have us believe that we inhabit a world in which the following truths do not exist:

  1. That the global jihadist movement is waging war against the United States.
  2. That, as in all wars, the jihadist enemy seeks to undermine us through any and all means necessary. This includes immigrating to our homeland both legally and illegally, in order to collect intelligence, recruit additional members, and wage ideological and kinetic war, among other nefarious activities.
  3. That as America’s leading homeland security officials readily acknowledge, we are ill-equipped to adequately screen individuals coming to America from states in the Middle East with sizable jihadist populations.
  4. That there is no fundamental right for all peoples of the world to enter American soil.
  5. That immigration policy like all policy must necessarily be geared towards America’s national interest — which includes putting the interests of American citizens first.

In this context, when one reads the plain English of President Trump’s executive order, it appears eminently reasonable and prudent, as one step in what must be a comprehensive counterjihad policy geared towards keeping new enemies out and defeating the enemies already within.

 

Consider the nature of the substance of the executive order:

  • It is limited in both (i) the set of nations to which the visa restrictions apply — all seven of which were identified in previous Obama administration immigration policy as posing threats, and all of which are failed and/or jihadist-laden states; and (ii) the time period for which the restrictions apply in all cases except Syria, which is a country in civil war — in large part overrun by ISIS and other jihadist forces.
  • It is flexible in giving the secretaries of state and homeland security discretion to allow admission of individuals into the country who would be otherwise restricted under the order. As the Department of Homeland Security notes, the result was that contrary to the media portrayal of widespread chaos, the implementation of the order affected less than one percent of the more than 325,000 daily arriving international air travelers. 48 hours after the order went into place, all detained individuals at airports were released.
  • It is consistent with American values and the law in calling for prioritizing the resettlement of refugees who have been discriminated against because of their  religious minority status.
  • It is threat doctrine-based, ensuring that ideology — the basis of the jihadist threat — is a key filter in the immigration screening process, pursuant to Section 1 which states:
In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

For those on the Left with a newfound appreciation for constitutional limits to federal power, the executive order is fully legal.

The Left, and its communications arm in the mainstream media, seeks to highlight the burdens born by those affected by the policy in order to score political points.

They ignore President Trump’s and indeed America’s forgotten men: Namely, victims of Islamic supremacism. This includes those maimed and murdered by jihadists, and their families. It also includes those who live in communities where refugees are resettled without any say in the matter or confidence that such refugees wish to assimilate or share the same values and principles. In truth, it includes the millions of American taxpayers supporting a government that has failed to counter the jihadist threat over the last 15 years and beyond.

Read the whole thing here.

A National Interest-Oriented Trump Foreign Policy and National Security Round-Up

As we move into the Donald J. Trump presidency, here is a round-up of recent pieces on the national interest-oriented, Kirkpatrickian national security and foreign policy that President-Elect Trump’s team is primed to implement:

And here are a couple of pieces on the lessons of President-Elect Trump that would benefit all Republicans and conservatives:

Featured Image Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore (License)

3 Lessons From Syria for an American-First Foreign Policy

On a bipartisan basis, America’s foreign policy establishment has championed a progressive, Wilsonian internationalist agenda that has served to our great detriment over the last 30 years.

Syria presents an ideal case study illustrating the pitfalls of this stultifying status quo.

In a new piece at Conservative Review, I analyze three aspects of that situation worth exploring as we look to build a framework for a new national interest-oriented foreign policy, focusing on the familiar themes of (i) Deposing relatively secular authoritarian dictators, (ii) Arming Islamic “rebels” and (iii) Picking sides in the Sunni-Shia war.

I close my piece with the following assertion:

…[E]very situation in the Middle East, and indeed the world, must not be viewed parochially. Strategic thinking requires understanding all of the players on the ground both immediately and as proxies for other forces, as well as understanding the different goals, strategies and tactics of each of the players. Often, the U.S. is going to be left with a series of bad options and outcomes, and near-term interests that may conflict with longer-term goals. In the case of ISIS for example, America must defeat them. As with the victory over any enemy however, we must also be looking downfield at who might fill ISIS’ vacuum. For the destruction of ISIS would not only represent the elimination of our jihadist foe, but the elimination of a Sunni competitor to Iran in its quest for hegemony. Such complexity underscores the significance of Sun Tzu’s urging that we know our enemies, but also know ourselves.

For decades policymakers have eschewed such analysis. Our leaders have often failed to articulate a basic explanation for why their decisions are in our national interest. They have failed to present a sober cost-benefit analysis for such actions based on a clear understanding of the nature of the enemy. They have failed to think thought through the knock-on effects of such actions on the broader world chessboard. Most pernicious of all, they have allowed politics and political correctness to inform decision-making, rather than forthrightly dealing with the world as it is.

The U.S. has the greatest assets in the world. But they have been misused thanks to a lack of knowledge, judgment, and strategic thinking. The Trump administration provides an opportunity to change this dynamic, an opportunity that we must seize.

You can read the whole thing here.

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Honor Our Troops with a Foreign Policy that Puts Their Lives — and America’s National Interest — First

On this Veterans Day, I wanted to share my vision for how to honor the sacrifices of our soldiers — namely by pursuing a foreign policy that puts their lives, and America’s national interest, first.

I lay out four principles for achieving this in my latest work at Conservative Review, which you can read here.

As I write in the piece:

There are several things that we as Americans ought to demand of our civilian leaders on behalf of our troops, including among them:

  • A foreign policy based in America’s national interest that does not result in the arming of those who wish to undermine us either directly or through destabilizing regimes that suppress such enemies;
  • A clear and logical justification for American interventions overseas, replete with a rationale cost-benefit analysis that looks at the peoples with whom we are engaging without politically correct blinders, and cogent exit strategy;
  • The abolition of suicidal rules of engagement that leave our troops vulnerable while protecting the enemy;
  • An end to social engineering of the armed forces — militaries exist to destroy enemies and defend shores, they are not playthings for progressives

We should be humanitarians towards our citizens first. Part of that includes not putting them in harm’s way to achieve abstract pipe-dreams overseas, the failures of which accrue to the benefits of our enemies.

On this Veterans Day, let us resolve to embrace a path that makes our troops’ sacrifices worthwhile.

Featured Image: U.S. Army Cpl. Robert Graves kneels while providing security as the 401st Military Police Company walks through the village of Udkheyl, Logar province, Afghanistan, on July 7, 2010. (Defense.gov/Wikimedia Commons)

Salon: A Spirited Discussion on Syria, the Sunni-Shia Battle for the Middle East and Russia

Salon gave me the opportunity to come on as the token conservative panelist in a discussion with host Carrie Sheffield of Bold and longtime national security/foreign affairs correspondent Courtney Kealy.

Check out our conversation on Syria, the Sunni-Shia battle for the Middle East and the broader proxy war going on between Russia and the U.S.

Carrie Sheffield sits down with Benjamin Weingarten and Courtn…WATCH LIVE: What is Aleppo? Don’t be like Gary Johnson. Here’s all you need to know about the crisis in Aleppo.

Posted by Salon on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Featured Image Source: Salon/Facebook Live

Talking Iran Deal, #Iransom and the War of Ideas with Buck Sexton

Check out my latest radio hit with friend and former colleague Buck Sexton on Iran, #Iransom, the War of Ideas and a whole lot more:

Image: Tehran 1993: An Iranian woman stands in front of a mural depicting Khomeini. (Armineh Johannes/Sygma/Corbis)

The State Department Exchange that Shows #Iransom is Real and Spectacular

The following transcript provided by The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren from yesterday’s exchange between State Department Spokesman John Kirby, Fox News’ James Rosen and AP’s Brad Klapper says it all about the Obama administration’s deceitfulness re #Iransom:

KLAPPER: Beyond saying there’s no ransom, you’ve said several times, a lot of people from different podiums in this government, have said there was no quid pro quo. What you just described is by definition a quid pro quo, is it not?

KIRBY: No.

KLAPPER: How is it not? You said they would not get the money until they were released. Quid, quo.

KIRBY: Thank you for the Latin expert. The Latin lesson, the Latin lesson.

KLAPPER: I mean, what am I missing in a quid pro quo that you have just outlined?

KIRBY: Brad, they were gonna get this money anyway, because The Hague Tribunal decided that they were going to get their money back. And-

KLAPPER: No, they hadn’t decided-

KIRBY: There was a negotiation inside The Hague Tribunal that they were going to cover the $400 million principal and then some interest that we negotiated, which saved the taxpayers a lot of money. That process was moving forward and it was moving forward on an independent track. Separately and distinctly we were also in talks with them about getting our Americans back. That was also done by a different team and moving forward. These two tracks came together in a very finite period of time.  And it would have been- given the fact that Iran hadn’t proved completely trustworthy in the past, it would have been irresponsible for us to not, since we- since we knew this payment was coming and coming soon, to not hold it up until we made sure we had our Americans out.

KLAPPER: Which is why everyone called it a quid pro quo at the beginning, and you disputed that. So I don’t quite understand how that changes anything. You’re saying it would have been imprudent not to link the payment, the delivery of the money, to the release of the prisoners, but you’re saying the delivery of the money wasn’t a quid pro quo related to the release of the prisoners because there’s a back story.

KIRBY: Because The Hague Tribunal had decided, the negotiation had been settled. That process was moving forward and would have moved forward regardless. But because it all happened in a short period of time, yes, we took advantage of that to make sure we had the maximum leverage possible to get our people out and get them out safely.

KLAPPER: So it was a quid pro quo?

KIRBY: No.

KLAPPER: You took advantage of it and you made it a quid pro quo.

KIRBY: We took advantage of leverage that we thought we could have to make sure that they got out safely and efficiently.

JAMES ROSEN: So you were holding the Iranians’ money hostage?

KIRBY: No, James.

KLAPPER: They paid the ransom. Because they released the prisoners.

KIRBY: It was their money, it’s their money. They were gonna get it anyway.

ROSEN: Would you at least agree, John-

KIRBY: Look, guys, we had to, you know, if we hadn’t done that, and if for some reason the Iranians did play games and we didn’t get the Americans out, and we hadn’t tried to use that leverage, then I could understand the disdain and the criticism here. But this was a sound decision made in the end game of two separate negotiation tracks.

KLAPPER: I’m making no value judgment on the decision. I’m just trying to get you to say what it is, which is very simple.

KIRBY: I have described what it is for the last 15 minutes. I haven’t used the Latin phrase that you like, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t described what happened.

KLAPPER: Listen, this happened in January and this if the first time you’ve ever said flat out that they wouldn’t get the money until the prisoners were released. That took, let’s count it, what, seven months? Why all the beating around the bush?  If it was such a great and noble decision?

KIRBY: The only reason that we’re having this discussion is because of the press coverage, Brad. We’ve said all along-

KLAPPER: So, evil reporters have made you dredge this up?

KIRBY: No. I’ve never called you guys evil, I’ve called you other things, but never evil.

KLAPPER: I mean, you can’t blame press coverage because you didn’t say what this was seven months ago.

KIRBY: We did describe it seven months ago.

KLAPPER: You did not say it was contingent, this was contingent on that. Now you’re saying-

KIRBY: We said-

KLAPPER: – flatly out that this was, this payment was contingent on the release of the prisoners.

KIRBY: I said-

KLAPPER: You did not say that in January.

KIRBY: I said this was, as I said before, we of course wanted to seek maximum leverage in this case as these two things came together at the same time.

ROSEN: John, you said that everyone all along, at all points, has been completely above board about this. But you would agree that what you’re telling us today represents a new factual disclosure from the administration, does it not?

KIRBY: I certainly would agree that this particular fact is not something that we’ve talked about in the past, but if you go back and look at the press coverage, your own coverage, of this when it happened, nobody made any bones about the fact that these two process [sic] were coming together at the same time and we took advantage of the opportunity we had, with the closure of the nuke deal, with The Hague Tribunal, and with talks to get our Americans back, we took full advantage of that, and I don’t think anybody in the administration is going to make any apology for having taken advantage of those opportunities to get these Americans home.

ROSEN: And would you agree that a reasonable observer could look upon a situation in which cash is withheld until prisoners are released, as something akin to ransom?

KIRBY: Well, an observer, whoever he or she may be, can look at this however they want. I’ve described now over the last 10 or 15 minutes what happened and what our thought process was going through that, and I’ll let others decide for themselves. I got to get going here, guys.

Omri Ceren on the Obama Admin’s Obfuscation of Congress on #Iransom

The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren chronicles the various efforts of members of Congress to receive details on the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion settlement payment to Iran stemming from a failed 1979 weapons deal:

Jan 21Rep. Pompeo sent a letter to the State Department with six questions about the payment and the possibility it was a ransom [b]:

The timing and details of the U.S. cash transfer of $1.7 billion to Iran indicates it might be a ransom payment… What is the relationship between the $1.7 billion payment and the release of the hostages?… Did the $400 million claim or the $1.3 billion interest payment ever come up… in conversations with the Iranians about the release of American hostages?… What is the source of the funding for the $1.3 billion interest payment… is it taxpayer-funded?

Feb 3Rep. Royce sent a letter to the State Department with ten questions about the payment and the possibility it was a ransom [c]:

An explanation of any steps taken by the Obama Administration to make clear that this settlement was not linked to the release of American hostages… An explanation of why the timing of financial settlement coincided with the release of five innocent Americans held hostage by Iran… An explanation of why the Committee was not consulted on such a consequential matter.

Feb through the middle of MarchThe State Department declined to respond to the Royce and Pompeo letters until mid-March. Then they sent each lawmaker a separate response letter, neither of which addressed the ransom questions. Instead the response letters confirmed the payment was made out of an original Trust Fund linked to the arms deal and a taxpayer-funded Judgment Fund. Both response letters had identical language saying further details could not be provided in an unclassified setting [d][e]:

It would not be in the interest of the United States to discuss further details of the settlement of these claims in an unclassified letter due to the ongoing litigation at the Tribunal. However, we would be prepared to provide a closed briefing on such issues if it would be useful to you.

May 25Pompeo and Sen. Cornyn filed legislation requiring a report on whether the $1.7 billion was a ransom [f]:

The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes… whether or not Federal funds, including the $1,700,000,000 payment… were paid to Iran, directly or indirectly, to effect the release of– (i) the members of the United States Navy who were detained…; or (ii) other United States citizens, including Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, and Matthew Trevithick, the release of whom was announced on January 16, 2016.

June 1Royce send a follow-up letter to his previous one, noting that the State Department had not addressed questions about whether the payment had been a ransom, and again asking for details. The administration has still not responded to his letter [g]:

[T]he Department’s reply largely failed to answer my requests… I sought an explanation of why the timing of this financial settlement coincided with both… the nuclear agreement and the release of five innocent Americans held hostage by Iran… However, the Department’s reply not only failed to provide this information, it did not even mention the nuclear agreement or the release of innocent Americans.

June 23Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Vargas sent a letter to the GAO requesting a review of the status of the Trust Fund money. The letter included past reports going back to 1979 casting doubt on the administration’s public claims [h]:

A July 25, 1979, GAO report, Financial and Legal Implications of Iran’s Cancellation of Arms Purchase Agreements (FGMSD-79-47) states… the total Iranian equity in the FMS program may not be determined for years; however, the Department of Defense (DOD) estimated at the time that $80 million would remain in the Iran FMS Trust Fund… GAO provided additional details of the ongoing process of resolving trust fund issues in January 1980, but again noted that total equity in the fund would not be determinable for years.

July 14Sens. Lankford and Fischer floated legislation to force the administration to provide information about how transfers like the $1.7 billion were and would be conducted [i]:

If a payment under this section is made to a foreign state… the Secretary of the Treasury shall make available to the public… (A) A description of the method of payment. (B) A description of the currency denominations used for the payment. (C) The name and location of each financial institution owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a foreign state or an agent of a foreign state through which the payment passed or from which the payment was withdrawn…

[b] http://pompeo.house.gov/uploadedfiles/1-21-16_pompeo_to_state_re_1.7b_to_iran.pdf
[c] https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/files/02.03.16%20-%20DOS%2C%20Secretary%2C%20John%20F%20Kerry%2C%20Concerns%20re%20%241.7%20Billion%20Payout%20to%20Iran.pdf
[d] https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/03.17.16-DOS-Response-Concerns-re-1.7-Billion-Payout-to-Iran.pdf
[e] http://pompeo.house.gov/uploadedfiles/3-23-16_ransom_iran_kerry_reply.pdf
[f] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s2984is/pdf/BILLS-114s2984is.pdf
[g] https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/06.01.16-DOS-Follow-up-on-1.7-billion-Payment-to-Iran.pdf
[h] http://ros-lehtinen.house.gov/sites/ros-lehtinen.house.gov/files/06.23.16%20-%20Ros-Lehtinen%2C%20Vargas%20GAO%20Request%20Letter%20-%20Iran%20FMS%20Trust%20Fund.pdf
[i] http://www.fischer.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7af255f2-50b7-48fa-aef9-5c56fba8980b/lankford-fischer-judgment-fund-bill.pdf

Guest-Hosting Newsmax TV’s ‘DML Unfiltered:’ Willful Blindness Towards Jihadism in American National Security, Benghazi, Turkey, War on Cops and More

Last night I had the great opportunity to guest host Newsmax TV‘s “DML Unfiltered.”

Check out the five segments below:

Senator Ted Cruz-Led Willful Blindness Hearing Panelist Chris Allen Gaubatz on Hamas-Linked CAIR’s Damage to National Security, Federal Government’s See-No-Jihad Policy

House Benghazi Committee Findings, Gunrunning to Jihadists, and the Disaster of Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Intervention with Former CIA Agent Clare Lopez

Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald on The War on Cops, “Ferguson Effect” and More

Ex-CIA Agent Mike Baker and Green Beret Jason Beardsley on the Istanbul Airport Attack, Our Strategic Interest in Turkey, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) vs. Counterjihadism

The State of the Presidential Election: Analyzing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s Unpopularity, Strengths and Weaknesses

Featured Image Source: Newsmax TV.

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