Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

Posts in "War"

September 29, 2014

Pushback on Obama Faulting Intel Agencies Over ISIS (Plus Pushback on That)

What President Obama said Sunday night on “60 Minutes” about the intelligence community vis-a-vis ISIS has caused a stir — mainly from people who thought he was shifting blame for underestimating the terrorist group, but, also, from some that thought his remarks were misinterpreted. Full story

White House Security Breach, Video Games/Future of Unknown Conflict in the Week Ahead


456090166 445x287 White House Security Breach, Video Games/Future of Unknown Conflict in the Week Ahead

A member of the Park Police keeps watch infront of the White House on Sept. 25. The Secret Service is reviewing new security measures inside and outside the White House fence after a man made it all the way inside the presidential mansion before being tackled. (Mandel NganAFP/Getty Images)

A handful of congressional panels are in action this week despite the prolonged recess, and naturally there’s some discussion of Iraq and Syria around Washington, D.C. Also, video games.

Full story

September 26, 2014

Weekly Recap: ISIS, Qassem Suleimani & Eric Holder

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Welcome to the new Weekly Recap, featuring highlights of Five By Five posts you may have missed as well as interesting reads from around the web. Full story

Five By Five Friday Q&A: ‘America Invades’ Author Christopher Kelly

americainvadescover Five By Five Friday Q&A: America Invades Author Christopher Kelly

Author Christopher Kelly spoke with Five By Five via e-mail about his new book “American Invades,” co-written with Stuart Laycock, that details the extent of American military invasions and involvement around the world. An earlier Five By Five post on the subject can be found here, to which Kelly responds in part in the first answer. Full story

September 25, 2014

‘Boobs on the Ground’: Fox News on Female UAE Pilot

You stay classy, Fox News. The sexist “boobs on the ground” crack on “The Five” about the first female UAE fighter pilot was preceded by a “bad at parking” joke, too. At least Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) called them out over it. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:52 a.m.
Pop Culture, Veterans, War

September 24, 2014

Book: America Has Invaded, Fought in Nearly Half of the World’s Countries

A new book concludes that America has fought in or invaded nearly half of the countries in the world, and has been involved with all but three of them militarily, one way or another. Sounds like a lot, maybe, but a similar book on Britain found that it had invaded or fought in nine out of 10 of the world’s countries. Of course, they’re older. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:54 p.m.

Pentagon Shunning Dysfunctional Libyan Security Force, Expert Says

photo1 445x333 Pentagon Shunning Dysfunctional Libyan Security Force, Expert Says

Right to left: Frederic Wehrey and Michele Dunne, Carnegie; Wolfram Lacher, SWP; Dirk Vandewalle, Dartmouth College. (Tim Starks/CQ Roll Call)

Libya’s new security force is, “by any definition,” a “train wreck,” a Middle East expert said Wednesday. And it’s so bad that the Pentagon — which has a planned role in training the force — is hoping it doesn’t move forward. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:16 p.m.
Foreign Policy, War

‘Bizarro World’ Indeed: Wall Street Journal Backs Obama on Syria, New York Times Doesn’t


Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies isn’t wrong: He did wake up in Bizarro World. That said, the split between the editorial pages of the reliably liberal New York Times and reliably conservative Wall Street Journal over President Obama’s bombing campaign in Syria isn’t so much a simple “yes/no.” Full story

September 23, 2014

Watch the U.S. Strikes in Syria, Via Pentagon Videos

The Navy and U.S. Central Command have released multiple videos of Monday night’s strikes in Syria, and related footage. As always, the videos only present one side of the conflict, and in the way it chooses to show the military action. All descriptions are via the Pentagon, with some analytical links at the end.

Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:42 p.m.
Navy, War

Sen. Tim Kaine: Congress Shouldn’t Allow Broader ISIS War Without Vote

“The president shouldn’t be doing this without Congress,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Tuesday of strikes against the Islamic State group, and “Congress shouldn’t be allowing it to happen without Congress.” Otherwise, Capitol Hill is embracing the policy of preemptive war favored by former Vice President Dick Cheney that it rejected back in 2001, right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event. Full story

A Crowded National Security Agenda (With ISIS at the Forefront)

At a forum hosted by Just Security and CQ Roll Call on Monday, the spotlight was on how Congress has been weighing its options for action against the now notorious terrorist group, the Islamic State — and how the fight against the group has crowded out other national security issues.

The event, moderated by CQ Roll Call’s David Ellis (@dellisnyc), was held at New York University’s Washington, D.C. center and featured five national security experts. The panelists were Rachel Kleinfeld (@rachelkleinfeld), a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Gerald Seib (@geraldfseib), the Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires; Tim Starks (@timstarks), who writes for CQ Roll Call’s Five by Five blog; Charles “Cully” Stimson (@cullystimson), a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation; and Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck), co-editor-in-chief of Just Security.

Some highlights: Full story

September 22, 2014

Congress Vs. ISIS, National Security and the Elections in the Week Ahead

kaine 230 072214 445x280 Congress Vs. ISIS, National Security and the Elections in the Week Ahead

Kaine speaks with a reporter by the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol in July. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A United Nations climate change summit that President Obama is scheduled to visit this week gives the White House a chance to push its fight against the Islamic State group before other countries. And a U.S. visit next week by new Indian prime minister Narenda Modi is giving think tanks and organizations a lot of reasons to hold India-related events in advance.

Then there are the subjects in the headline. Full story

September 18, 2014

Scottish Independence: North Korean Annihilation of England Possibly Pending


North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, threatened “annihilation” of “English hegemons” early Thursday if they interfered with Scottish independence, which is, of course, ironic, but also is about how much the North Koreans want some of that delicious Scotch whisky. Not even kidding. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:33 p.m.
Foreign Policy, War

September 17, 2014

Obama Reaffirms No Boots On The Ground But Chatter Continues

A day after the U.S. military’s top officer raised the possibility of boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama clarified the administration’s plans during an address to troops at U.S. Central Command.

“As your Commander-in-Chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,” Obama said on Wednesday, the day after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there could be circumstances under which he’d recommend the president use combat troops to fight the Islamic State.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed inclined to agree with Dempsey, telling CBS This Morning: “The reality is, they’re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own.”

“So there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy,” he added, noting that to say otherwise “traps” the president.

See below for more commentary and analysis on the issue:

Film Review: What War Feels Like For Soldiers

 Film Review: What War Feels Like For Soldiers

Movie poster for “Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like”

After finishing a deployment at a notoriously dangerous outpost in northeastern Afghanistan, Capt. Dan Kearney recalled what it was like to be stationed there.

“Bad guys come to you so you can kill them,” Kearney says in the film, “Korengal: This is What War Feels Like,” a documentary released in May from the Academy Award-nominated director of “Restrepo.”

Five by Five attended a screening of the film along with a panel discussion, sponsored by New America and featuring the film’s director, Sebastian Junger, Navy veteran Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., Command Sgt. Maj. La Monta Caldwell  and Blayne Smith of the veterans group, Team Red, White & Blue.

In the film, soldiers described themselves as “bait” for members of Al-Qaida and the Taliban when they were on patrol. “I pretty much never thought I’d make it out of the valley alive,” says Spec. Misha Pemble-Belkin.

Over the course of five years, 42 American soldiers lost their lives while deployed to the outpost, which the U.S. shuttered in 2010 after unsuccessful attempts to gain the trust of the locals and to drive off the Taliban and Al Qaida.

“What I want is for viewers to understand the experience of combat by soldiers,” Junger told Five by Five. “Soldiers really don’t debate the merits of the war, the morality of the way, the strategy of the war, they really are focused on the mission that they are given.”

Indeed, your blogger found “Korengal” to be a more personal look into the lives of soldiers than 2010′s “Restrepo.” The film included intricate details like soldiers describing the sound of bullets flying as well as how tedious the terrain was to traverse.

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